Monday, December 17, 2012

Artist of the Day: Burial

With Truant out today, that makes a total of two top-of-year-list worthy releases from one man. Not simply for the electronic-leaning folks either, because Burial's acclaim has spread far beyond the borders of what would once be considered his prime audience. In a very GY!BE or Neutral Milk Hotel way everyone seems to listen, have listened or about to listen to Burial even though his slow garage and dubstep style initially appears difficult to access. In the end though, it's sad, reflective and moving to such a profound extent that the music is able to conquer the limitations of the style.

The new EP takes Burial in a previously unexplored direction. Skeletal beats move him back to the cool, sharp and stripped-down approach which defined his self-titled debut, but within this comfortable framework he works in a muffled celebration of late 20th century dance in much the same fashion that The Caretaker approached 1920's dance hall music last year. We hear small scraps of trance and even the more industrial reaches of DnB in 'Truant' beneath the solid dubstep architecture  with the tone sitting neatly in between "tribute" and "death cry" in a solid display of why Burial manages to be so moving. "Rough Sleeper" is more explicit with these influences, and with the muzzle removed they transform his music into an in-the-moment celebration rather than a reflection. Latter parts of the track tone this down somewhat, with a cowbell-led midsection slowly subsiding to a classic Kindred-esque finish. The end result is an incredibly satisfying EP from one of the world's most celebrated producers. It's arguably not his best, yet still it manages to top almost all of its competition.


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