London's Felix Manuel (aka Djrum) produces a highly ambitious form of electronic music which is informed by club styles such as techno, garage, and jungle, as well as his background in jazz and classical music. His compositions are often lengthy, multi-part epics which are structured more like miniature soundtracks than typical club cuts. After debuting in 2010 and releasing several acclaimed EPs, particularly 2011's Mountains, he made his full-length debut with 2013's Seven Lies. While many of his releases rely on samples, Manuel decided to put more of a focus on his piano playing for his second full-length, 2018's Portrait with Firewood.
Felix Manuel trained as a jazz pianist, and names Alice Coltrane and Keith Jarrett as two crucial influences. He began to DJ during the late 2000s, and was a member of the Yardcore crew, who threw events in London and had a monthly radio show on Sub.fm, an online radio station, playing garage and dubstep as well as drum'n'bass, gabba, and breakcore. In 2010, Manuel (initially credited as DJ Rum) released "Plead with Me" and "St. Martin," two atmospheric post-dubstep singles filled with mysterious vocal snippets and dub echoes. In 2011, Manuel signed to 2nd Drop Records and released the two-part Mountains EP, which earned praise from dance websites like Resident Advisor, and was followed by a remix 12" in 2012.
Following remixes for producers like LV and Phaeleh, a podcast mix for RA, and an additional single ("Watermark"), Djrum's full-length debut, Seven Lies, arrived in 2013. He continued releasing ambitious singles, primarily on 2nd Drop, although 2015's drum'n'bass-leaning "Plantain" arrived on Samurai Red Seal, and a split 12" with Struction appeared on Ilian Tape in 2016. That summer, Djrum released a trilogy of EPs: Forgetting, LA, and Space Race. He then signed to R&S Records in 2017, issuing the Broken Glass Arch EP. This preceded his second album, 2018's Portrait with Firewood, which featured contributions from cellist Zosia Jagodzinska and vocalist Lola Empire. ~ Paul Simpson