Djrum – ‘The Darkest Hour Is Just Before Dawn (Undercoat pt.2)’/’Watermark’ (2nd Drop Records)

Most nine minute long dance tracks do not need to be quite nine minutes long. Obviously there are countless exceptions, but I find it to be generally true. Both tracks on this 12″ are definitely exceptions.

‘The Darkest Hour Is Just Before Dawn (Undercoat pt.2)’ takes textures within electronic music to another level. It touches so many different corners of electronica but never seems stretched, combines so many influences but never seems confused, and, resembles a journey, yet the idea remains consistent from the first beat to the last. Burial comparisons are inevitable – the dark, UK garage foundations, abstract sampling and refined percussion seem common to the two artists; Djrum, however, twists the whole thing through a dub-infected, pirate radio filter. Intriguing production throughout.

Although, ‘Watermark’ consciously takes a more techno-indebted slant, the elements are balanced in such a way that the drums are never overwhelming. The kicks are distant and expertly suppressed; leaving the shadowy synth work, string melodies and atmospheric effects as the key players. The end product? An eerie, late-night trance; not necessarily geared at the club or otherwise, ‘Watermark’ harbours a middle ground with an admirable dexterity.

For the quality and authenticity of the music, I hope this release gets the recognition it deserves. Djrum seems – or maybe I’m being ignorant – way underrated.

Richard Akingbehin

‘The Darkest Hour Is Just Before Dawn (Undercoat pt.2)’/’Watermark’ is out now via 2nd Drop Records