Monday, April 4, 2011

Burial - Street Halo

     The usually elusive and secluded Burial has been in the limelight more and more lately. I attribute this mostly due to the fact that his brand of downbeat Dubstep is so much more emotionally rewarding than the straight up wobble of the rest of his UK counterparts. Each track has its own heart, where as standard Dubstep tracks place the emphasis on groove. That's not to say you can't groove, or even dance to Burial, because you easily could, but there is just so much more to it than that. Burial also was the producer behind the Jamie Woon album which recently came out, which is also spectacular and puts Burials talents to use in ways in which they haven't been adapted to yet. Another thing that has really pushed Burial from underground sensation to borderline star has been Thom Yorke's involvement. It was apparent when Thom Yorke's solo album came out around the same time as Burial's debut back in 2006 that they shared many aesthetic values. Burial even did a fantastic remix of the track "And It Rained All Night" for Yorke, which was easily the standout track on "The Eraser: Remixes".

     Taking this relationship to a whole new level is the Thom Yorke / Burial / Four Tet collaboration that came out a little while ago. While Four Tet and Burial has collaborated before, this was something new in that it was taking their combined sound in a more vocal direction. While I really did enjoy that collaboration, I was hoping we would see some new solo Burial material, because even though I enjoy all his work producing and collaborating, I find his solo work to be the most distant and withdrawn, and in the end the most rewarding.

     Lucky for me we now have a new Burial EP, titled "Street Halo". It opens up with the title track, which is much more upbeat than his work typically is, yet contains the patented pitch shifted and twisted vocals that haunt most Burial tracks. The Beat sounds less like a standard Dubstep track and more like an tribute to all the jungle and D&B tracks that Burial grew up with. That's not to say its a banger or anything, because it definitely isn't. But it is for sure one of the most straightforward Burial tracks ever released.

     The second track, titled "NYC", is the Burial sound that I have been missing when listening to his collaborative work. It takes an incredibly delicate hand to manipulate the ebb and flow of a track such as this, but he does it with devastating results. Empty spaces are filled with reverb drenched synths, a sampled vocal is pitched up to a desperate coo, and underlying it all is the steady thump of the standard Burial two step rhythm. Tracks like NYC don't come along often for me, and it is these tracks that accompany me into long nights of work, writing, and blissful longing.
     After hearing NYC for the first time I was happy. The EP could have ended right there and I wouldn't have thought twice about it. My thirst for Burial seclusion had been quenched. Yet the sound of the final track of the EP came oozing through my headphones. "Stolen Dog" is more emotional, more affecting, and more isolating than anything Burial has ever done. Hyperbole? I guess maybe. But I have listened to this track 10 times in the last 2 weeks or so and it just keeps getting better each time. The beat is nearly absent, featuring an unsteady hi hat and some clicks and pops, which allow the subversive melodies to be that much more present. At about 3:45 the track nearly ends all together, only to come back together again. Although it is basically the same throughout, I feel like I am hearing new elements and feelings all the way to the end.

     In short I am incredibly excited to see what kind of full length Burial puts out next. If it is anything close to the quality of his past LP's, and now "Street Halo", than it will truly be something to be reckoned with.

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1 comment:

  1. Great review of an very promising/exciting release. :D