From the depths of the UK underground, Burial has risen once again to issue forth future garage gorgeousness. Burial is the only person on the planet that can drop a 3 track EP that lasts 29 minutes and no one will bat an eye. The work is dotted with positive, anti-bullying messages. The odd sample, foreshadowing, leading up to a tremendous quote by a very famous person (I’ll get to a little later) reminding us to believe in ourselves and not give into the haters. He actually sent a text to Mary Anne Hobbs, one of the Radio One aristocracy, discussing his inspiration (via NME)
“I put my heart into the new EP, I hope someone likes it. I wanted the tunes to be anti-bullying tunes that could maybe help someone to believe in themselves, to not be afraid, and to not give up, and to know that someone out there cares and is looking out for them. So it’s like an angel’s spell to protect them against the unkind people, the dark times, and the self-doubts.”
The stupendous production value is on display with the first track (same name as the album). Rival Dealer is a deep, driving but enclosed track, dotted with messages about support, love and bisexuality, tunnels through this space that only he can create. I’ll continue to contend that Burial can best be described as “music you listen to while wearing your favorite hoodie in the rain.”
“Hiders” starts with a vocal sample of “There’s a kid somewhere” evoking a very raw feel of the idea that there are children who fear for their safety and flee the light. The sounds are murky, but hopeful. There samples continue, keeping you guessing, and almost hoping things turn out ok.
“Excuse me, I’m lost” begins “Come Down to Us, the 13 min opus of the EP. It’s almost a ballad, with the shimmering vocals leaking out between the cloudy bass. Burial is also one of the only artists on the planet right now that can put more than one or two ideas into a track and not lose anything from them. The melodies and energy build gradually over time, even when the track seems to be turning into something completely different. Without knowing it, you’ve gone from dark to light and eight minutes in (that’s right kids, eight, and we’re nowhere near done) we’re in this triumphant, hopeful and sunny place, reminding you, that you’re not alone. This is capped off by a speech, one of the first obviously/overtly political samples in the entirety of his discography. Lana Wachowski discusses her experience of being transgendered and how she was able to remind herself of her inherent worth and value, even under the onslaught of bullshit from people.
The fact that this kind of message is coming from Burial makes me even more reverent of his work. He could literally say anything, but he chose a strong anti-bullying & trans-positive message, not the easiest position to take on these here internets. Kudos to you Burial. Can’t wait for my copy in the mail.
Burial is one of those artists that finds you at a certain point in your listening history and shakes up your worldview. The ethereal, melancholy beats, haunting melodies and astonishing compositions first showed up in 2006, when his debut album off Hyperdub records completely shook up what 2-step, future garage & dubstep could sound like. The sounds just weren’t comparable to what others were sounding like at the time. A personal favorite of mine, Archangel off of his second album released in 2007 is a track that everyone needs to hear before they die:
However, this post isn’t about Burial’s previous (mind-blowing) work. Burial released a two single EP this week, to the glee and adulation of anyone who listens to UK garage, chillstep or downtempo. Whenever Burial puts something out, it gets swarmed immediately. People might’ve been disappointed that it was only a 2 track EP, but the two tracks total over 25min of sound. This is a treat in time for the holidays, almost perfectly timed to totally fuck with everyone’s “Best of 2012” lists. Truant continues the storied tradition of Burial tracks approximating a stylized walk through the rain wearing a hoodie. This quiet backbeat melts into the frayed vocals and silky samples. As always, the production value is through the roof. The track, 11:45 in length, feels like the first half of an EP, especially with the oscillating beats, the melodic progressions and the continued focus on inducing dreamlike states.
Rough Sleeper definitely breaks past that melodic quiet chillstep and pushes some more uptempo beats and jarring sounds into your awareness. Nothing abrasive, buzz-sawy or brosteppy, but there is a strength behind the bluesy & ethereal track that Truant just didn’t have. It provides an excellent compliment to the previous feel. Almost a wake up call from a dream. The speed kicks up, and while still scratchy and ethereal, there’s a groove to them that you can really get into, especially if you’re into where he’s going with it.
I mean, there’s really not that much that needs to or even should be said about the work. This is one of the artists that changed a sound a lot of us take for granted now, doing what he does best. I’ve gotta say I like the long-form track format, as it makes it a lot easier to get in deep with a track, and not have to keep switching up basslines 10 times in 5 minutes. Great stuff, but, of course, it couldn’t have been anything else.