L-Vis 1990 has in the past displayed the boldest pop sensibility of any of the Night Slugs crew. But, perhaps burned by the mainstream flirtations of his ill-fated 2011 LP Neon Dreams, lately James Connolly seems to be indulging his darker side. His contribution to Night Slugs' Club Construction series, released last year, was about as un-pop as you could imagine him getting. Its ultra-functionalist drum machine workouts, all jagged hi-hats and maddening one-note synth lines, owed a clear debt to both early Chicago jack tracks and ghetto house, but galloped with a ruffneck sense of propulsion borrowed from the UK's dance floors.
Given the feel of that EP, it's gratifying—if not all that surprising—to see Connolly turn up on Clone's Jack For Daze sub-label. The Circuits EP is more stylistically expansive than its predecessor, if, frustratingly, quite a bit less thrilling. "Circuits" is more measured than its forebears and reintroduces a welcome bit of melodic flair into the formula. Its bassline is eminently hummable, while pristine melodies hint at Connolly's dayglo past. "SDS 5000" brings the ghetto house bounce, although it's set in a surprisingly pensive context. "Wires" and "That Thunder Trak" are more skeletal: grinding percussive workouts with a stop-start approach to pacing. It's tempting to draw comparisons with a Jack For Daze masterpiece like Geeeman's Rubberband2, but for the most part these tracks—while perfectly fit for purpose—are altogether less dynamic and less imaginative than their peers.
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Tracklist: L-Vis 1990 - Circuits EPA Circuits
B2 That Thunder Track
B3 SDS 5000