Yes, DJ Richard is a terrible DJ name, and yes, this is an unrelentingly gloomy collection. But there’s enough bite in amongst the darkness to give life to the pasty apparition it calls up.

As the great Nigel Tufnel says ‘It’s like, how much more black could this be. The answer is none. None more black’. DJ Richard has delivered somewhat on the strong promise of 2015’s Grind with a long player steeped in serious, glacial ambience. Whether you like it or not may depend on your patience for dour, introspective soundscapes that stick to a few, well-chosen colours.

Providence, Rhode Island-raised DJ Richard has spent much of the last four years in Berlin, European capital of cavernous techno, and his outlook on the world has perhaps taken a turn for the worse. Dies Iræ Xerox is as dark as they come – a double-spaced, cleanly typed poison pen letter to the subconscious. Rhythm and movement are often kicked to the curb as big, cutting slabs of synthesizer weave around the listener. At times, the whole thing becomes, literally, depressing – like a perfectly symmetrical concrete prison cell, devoid of air holes.

At the same time, the album carries a number of energising numbers that provide, if not space and light, then at least something of a relaxation of its otherwise stifling grip. ‘Vanguard’ is a rutting, four-to-the-floor stomp with a kind of corrugated riff riveted by sharp drum arrangements. ‘Tunnel Stalkers’ has a lolloping groove that trips over its own feet as it builds towards something approaching a climax.

On the beatless side, ‘Dissolving World’ and the album’s title track both take the simplest of chord progressions as their template and proceed to… well, fail to proceed. There’s a strange air of joyless repetition (the Berlin influence peaking through), with tracks fading in and out without moving, or reforming themselves beyond their initial shape; as if DJ Richard is building unchanging statues of ambience, rather than living songs in the traditional sense.

The collection as a whole is realised with a very limited palette of drum sounds and queasy synths, making each track run together, despite fade ins and outs. Many of the tracks aren’t so much stripped back as completely naked, like brand new tailor’s dummies.

There are a couple of exceptions that prove the rule. ‘Ancestral Helm’ calls up the barest of emotions – a post-club come down that regrets its debauchery (not on show here) but which makes no promises about not falling off the wagon again.

This is a straight, difficult collection that may be too tough for many people to climb on board with. When it’s good, Dies Iræ Xerox can be startling. For the most part, it’s hard to love.