There are albums you fall for in an instant, that you consume with ravenous lust, mining them of their alluring assets – their hooks, their choruses, their vitality, their music-we-need-right-nowness – until after a few months of intensive fracking it all rings a little hollow, the urgency and character you first adored now all too absent. Then there’s albums that initially pass you by, but find yourself returning to for whatever reason, and over recurring listens you peel back and appreciate its genius, its flaws, its peaks, its troughs, that begin to map onto your own experiences, your feelings, your thoughts. A genuine, deep-rooted, lasting love of a work of music that transcends melody and theme. Music so engrained into the arc of your life that it unsentimentally subsists as your soundtrack. DJ Seinfeld’s Time Spent Away From U is one of mine.

Come End Of Year List Season, these albums are traditionally confined to “the most underrated” or “albums you missed” backrooms and cellars rather than proudly displayed front of shop. These are albums writers enjoy but are sometimes reluctant to evangelise, the tough-to-market oddities that blossom with time. Time Spent Away From U wasn't panned, but it wasn’t unanimously well-received, criticisms predominantly directed at its homogeneity; which is fair in truth, it isn’t particularly innovative, displaying an almost lethargic curiosity towards drum programming quirks and bleary-eyed piano.

Lo-fi house can be ostentatiously serious or ostentatiously glib. At its worst it’s a parody of moroseness, so mutedly pensive you feel it might just ask if you’ve read Nietzsche; whether it’s asked with a sheepish grin or with studied solemnity depends on the producer. At its best it taps into a valve of latent vulnerability, similarly to how techno apprehends our primal urgency. It’s sad, and fragile, and huskily elusive, and just self-deprecating enough not to overdo it.

Armand Jakobbson is candid about which side he falls on – his sitcom-winking moniker and track titles like ‘I Saw Her Kiss Him In Front Of Me And I Was Like WTF?’ signpost – but has repeatedly stressed irreverence doesn’t define his craft. He takes his music seriously without concerning himself with attributing external seriousness or relevancy, without setting firm parameters that must denote meaning. Taken at face-value DJ Seinfeld paraphrases the famous maxim of his TV show namesake; his is a dance music about nothing. Though as Seinfeld the show demonstrated, just because something’s purposeless doesn’t mean it’s valueless.

There is something fragmented about the songs on Time, perhaps informed by their being produced over a frantic period of three months and allegedly only comprising 20% of Jakobbson’s output during then; but also by this breed of house’s inherent remoteness, its sonic saturation as a blank canvas. It oscillates, sometimes in the same track, between crying earnestness and cloying irony; ‘Too Late For U And M1’ underscores its echoing disco vocal sample with a mischievous shufflebeat and splurges of acid synths, a sonics palette that works melodically but just feels… off, like you’re the butt of an inscrutable but harmless joke.

Even the smooth transition into the title track resembles an affectionate wink, an access point to interpretation. The seemingly paradoxical intersection of impassioned earnestness and distancing irony so textured on Time is a pretty common characteristic of a generation as collectively disillusioned as ours.

Time emerged from Jakobsson’s need to materially grapple with a break-up, and it’s over a matter of months of listening and digesting that the weight of sadness and loss promulgating the record gradually materialises, a reciprocity between his experiences of pain and loneliness, and our own, that latent vulnerability, and also latent euphoria. Irony as a tool of detachment, a barge-pole keeping the loss at bay, is agonisingly relatable. The analog-stylised piano and scuttling percussion become clay to shape into something singular.

I’ve spent nearly a year with Time. It’s soundtracked runs, commutes, cooking sessions. It’s livened up office admin, psyched-up pre-drinks, coloured in trivial pottering about the house. I listened to ‘How You Make Me Feel’ after I found out I’d got onto my masters, and ‘U Hold Me Without Touch’ after one of my worst anxiety attacks. Immersed in its static cloud, an outlay of straightforwardly fun and sad house tracks transformed into extensions of myself. When I reflect on memories from the past year I tangentially remember this record, like it’s the wallpaper shade in a photo, the glint at the edge of a mirror, a series of vivid refractions. It’s engrained into my life’s arc.

But even more than this, Time articulates an instinct.

Lo-fi house, for all its critics, captures better than most the glazing over of nights out, the filthy purity of raving as an act. I’ve never heard ‘U’ in a club but it’s a song which, given its blankness, I’ve projected my romanticising of nightlife onto. ‘U’ is the seventeen seconds where you’re consumed by gratitude for your life, your mates, and for that precise moment; and overwhelmed by despair that it’s fleeting. And ‘U’ is the night’s residue, where you dismiss despair and prolong those seventeen seconds an hour at a time. I’ve spent a year with ‘U’ evolving into more signifier than song, the whole world in a pattern of puffed-up hi-hats. Which is something, even if it began as ironic shitposting.