DJ Richard channels grim medieval moods on an apocalyptic yet beautiful 55 minutes.
Though none of these songs deal explicitly with themes of death, violence or apocalypse, you can discern them buried deep in the music, as grainy and ghostly as the photocopied image implied by the LP's title. DJ Richard's exquisitely sombre moods make the album's hip-hop diversions—"Pitfall" and "Gate Of Roses"—feel slow and syrupy, like Memphis rap dragged to a nihilist lowpoint. "In Broad Daylight" is especially brooding and unfriendly. "Tunnel Stalker" is sluggish, as if it were swimming in a stream of sludge.
DJ Richard has always been adept at creating subtle moods. That's why he's found a home on Dial, a label that deals largely in nuance and restraint. Like the stripped-back tunes on Path Of Ruin, it's the most elementary tracks on Dies Iræ Xerox that make the deepest impression. "Dissolving World" is adrift and uneasy with delicate, almost transparent synths, while "Ancestral Helm" has the romantic cadence of chamber music.
Dies Iræ Xerox covers a lot of ground. Grind was a pitch-perfect Dial album, gently messing with the label's deep house formula. His EPs, meanwhile, have drawn extraordinary feeling from dance music's fundamentals. Dies Iræ Xerox is a pleasure because DJ Richard ventures out of his comfort zone without losing his grip on what makes his music great. It feels diverse but totally cohesive, united by its mournful air and the constant contrast between dark and light. Dies Iræ Xerox is grim, but it's also beautiful.