DJ Richard · Dies Iræ Xerox Dial LP CD 40 / June 15, 2018
Following 2017’s ‘Path of Ruin’, DJ Richard returns to Dial Records with his much-anticipated sophomore LP, ‘Dies Iræ Xerox’.
Undoubtedly one of the most distinctive and fully-formed electronic producers in recent memory, DJ Richard imprinted the sound of a bubbling US underground with his label, White Material, founded in 2012 alongside Young Male. His first solo LP for Dial, 2015’s ‘Grind’, found DJ Richard delicately establishing a discipline between his East Coast noise heritage and a physical, emotive tradition of house music, mastered during an extended stay in Berlin. Now firmly settled once more in his hometown of Providence, ‘Dies Iræ Xerox’ is a personal and uncompromising journey that finds the Rhode Island native in reflective form, journeying without compromise into both his creative influences and personal psyche.
In part adapting its title from the Latin hymn “Dies irae”, otherwise known as ‘Day of Wrath’, ‘Dies Iræ Xerox’ melds the physical and psychological aspects of DJ Richard’s production ethos in sharper, more widescreen vision than before; the oceanic swells of ambience yet more powerful, and the rigid basslines sharper still. With the chaos of the Berlin club scene an increasingly distant memory, the album is enriched with a contemplative, even brittle tone, as informed by film soundtracks and literature as the pulse of city living.
Still, this is new material from DJ Richard, a touring DJ as distinctive as any other to be found behind the decks at some of the world’s finest clubs and festivals. On ‘Dies Iræ Xerox’, the artist finds the space to write “the records I really want to play”, and each suggests a template for genuine dancefloor transcendence, beginning with the electrifying ‘Vanguard’ . The sludgy yet sophisticated crawl of ‘Tunnel Stalker’ sets the tone for the menacing yet somehow melancholy EBM of ‘In Broad Daylight’, while the record draws to a breathless close with the affecting, drum machine lethargy of ‘Gate of Roses’.
Drawing little distinction between his more physically rousing material and searching soundscapes, ‘Dies Iræ Xerox’ instead finds a passage of catharsis throughout both. ‘Dissolving World’, the album’s breathtaking centerpiece, is a choral feature hypnotically overwhelmed by walls of electronic feedback, forging a dramatic link between old ways and new. On the bold and near-beatless ‘Ancestral Helm’ and ‘Final Mercy’, DJ Richard seems to grant both music and raw emotion the ability to simply float in the air, brilliantly, poignantly unresolved.
If 'Grind,' inspired by the weathered coastlines of Rhode Island, was a record concerning "the border between civilization and the ocean," then 'Dies Iræ Xerox' is an unapologetic follow-up concerning that between macabre obsessions and fear of death. Produced during a murky, transitional period, DJ Richard found himself particularly drawn to Medieval European art and mysticism, fascinated by depictions and philosophies of the antichrist and end-times. Greatly influencing the uncompromising, apocalyptic tone of the album, these investigations have created an engaging and personal vision of the 'Day of Wrath.'
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