Review: Burial – ‘Truant/Rough Sleeper’

Following the release of his hugely anticipated Kindred EP in early 2012, the illusive Burial aka William Bevan, has treated loyal enthusiasts to a final 12” of the year on Kode9’s Hyperdub label.

The release features two multi-chaptered compositions, at 12 and 14 minutes respectively. As one can expect, both tracks are instantly recognizable, featuring Burial’s trademark needle-on-vinyl and analogue sounds.

‘Truant’ opens with a moody atmosphere and a light, pulsating 4/4 beat. As the track progresses, the hauntingly beautiful “I fell in love with you” vocals creep in, backed with a cavernous, descending bass-line that can’t decide when to start nor stop. Come the 6-minute mark and, like many of his releases of late, the mood of the track suddenly wavers, bringing to life an uplifting energy only for it to wane back to it’s former somber state, in-turn bringing the song to a close (using the same samples taken from his masterpiece rework of Massive Attack’s ‘Four Walls/Paradise Circus’).

‘Rough Sleeper’ on the flip is a more soulful piece, and at 14 minutes long is more like a trip than your average song. The track’s opening evolves with a sad yet hopeful vocal, accompanied with echoing pipe organs and distant trumpet snippets. Not to forget the bass that bellows, indecisively stopping and starting when it pleases. As with ‘Truant’ and reminiscent of ‘Kindred’, the beat is simplistic; a minimal, throbbing shuffle sounding like the raw clanking of hollow metal on metal, with the occasional spluttering of tropical steel drums. It is almost impossible to list all the elements used; the faint crunch of broken glass and rattling of wind chimes, the ghostly sighs of an angelic voice, the abrupt unforgiving thud; the elements are infinite.

It is only after having being immersed in Burial’s works of art can we appreciate the fascination behind such an artist. His complete withdrawal from the media adds to the mystery of such a producer whose sounds are raw, organic and inimitable. There has been rumour, much to the excitement of die-hard Burial aficionados, of a follow up to his award-winning album, Untrue back in 2007, an album that the Observer claimed to be one of the most important of the decade. Whilst information is being kept under wraps for now, Burial’s 2012 releases have been a brilliant insight into one of the most influential masterminds in music today.

Sam Probert

…Sam is listening to Stumbleine – ‘Drifting Youth’


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