Driving "hard drum" beats laced with melody.
DJ JM's home label, Even The Strong, grew from a series of North London warehouse parties. Sorriso is the outlet's fourth EP, and the second from DJ JM. Flying the flag for "hard drum"—a driving, percussive style of club music between 120 and 135 BPM—DJ JM's production is distinct. Crisp snares, syncopated rhythms and thundering basslines, it's no-frills music for dark raves. The sentiment is echoed in the monochrome artwork by 3000000000am. Sorriso's cover fizzes with flashes of electricity.
Even The Strong defines hard drum as "largely devoid of melody," but here DJ JM moves away from that approach. Across five tracks, Sorriso has melody among the rhythms. The woody percussion sounds tonal in the techno-leaning "Quiet Lyf." The title track has a brassy synth line, while "Waterwheel" borrows from UK funky as bells chime across two notes and a xylophone-like pattern skitters in the background. A twisted festive anthem, "Santa's Not Dead" is the standout. A bit like a warped dubstep cut with a hypnotic swagger, buoyant synths are met by the odd shudder that recalls the noise a PC makes when it freezes. It's menacing yet playful, showing DJ JM's progression to a more colourful palette.