Album Review: Seven Lies - Djrum

Seven Lies is the debut album by Felix Manuel, who goes by the name Djrum (pronounced "drum") and on it he creates a sound collage of genres and influences.

This is an undeniably London-orientated album, full of the kind of urban decay coupled with muted bass and raw beats. Djrum's label cites influences including Portishead, DJ Shadow and Cinematic Orchestra, jungle, minimal techno, house and broken beats. These have all been combined to create a filmic, atmospheric soundscape.

Djrum's music sounds more like Machinedrum than any of those individual reference points, and there is a hint of Andy Stott's mature bass-orientate techno to the deeper moments on Seven Lies. In essence Manuel has created a dubstep album that casts a net over a number of dance-related genres - house, techno, hip-hop and soul - and pulls them all back into the boat.

Seven Lies therefore captures much of the apprehension and isolation of dubstep but plays it to a less rigid, more human rhythm. It's ultimately familiar in style yet still feels distinct from much of the dubstep influenced material I've heard of late - less coffee table than James Blake and the XX, yet more experimental than the dubstep of purists.

Arcana (Do I Need You) builds strings, tight drum loops and a growling bass line around a soulful vocal, creating a heady mechanical groove that still feels like it has heart. Lies, in contrast, is slow moving and fragile, filled with vinyl static and harps and space that encircle vocals from Shadowbox.

It seems that Djrum isn't afraid to step more directly into other genres and disrupt those either. Final track Thankyou is a fluid track of drum 'n' bass rhythms where the drum patterns gradually merge into one another before a final cinematic climax.

There is a sense of the jazz-like experimentalism in the way Manuel's music moves, locking into a moment and playing with it until it gradually changes form whilst painting a series of momentary feelings for the listener.

Seven Lies will be released next Monday through 2nd Drop Records, it is available to pre-order from on MP3 [affiliate link]. Preview via the album Minimix below: