Album Reviews

Burial – Truant/Rough Sleeper

on January 16, 2013, 12:00am
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William Bevan’s expert assembly of drum loops and vocal samples has grown recognizable to the point of parody. While his newest 12″ release is no less distinctly Burial, the aloof London-based artist keeps mutating the sound he trademarked as soon as we feel we’ve pinned it down.

On “Truant/Rough Sleeper”, the latest EP-length single from London’s Hyperdub, Burial inhumes the hungry announcements that leapt from the smoke on 2012′s Kindred EP. While his previous solo release was most memorable for the moments where language distinguished itself from atmosphere, here the work is all in the flow. “Truant/Rough Sleeper” sublimates its vocals into the grain of the music; words emerge, but they’re murmurs, not proclamations. Even the familiar click-thump beats are glazed over with a homogenous alien honey for a release that’s highly affective in low contrast.

The moody, slow-burning “Truant” simmers at a uniform tempo, full of vague laments and distant percussive throbs. Like with any Burial release, its A-side placement no more divides it from track two than any of Kindred‘s measures could be consumed on their own. As such, “Truant” is more preamble to “Rough Sleeper” than a leading section in itself. On side B, Burial hones in on sharper structures, indulging in textures that crack the boundaries of his well-defined territory. Vocals arc wordlessly above droning synths as ghostly saxophones and metallic arpeggios probe at new corners of the world.

A warm and patient record, “Truant/Rough Sleeper” exhibits the kind of restraint that can only be found in an artist who is trying to learn from himself as much as his contemporaries have learned from him. Once you’ve positioned yourself at the helm of a genre, the only place left to go is deeper.

Essential Tracks: ”Truant”, “Rough Sleeper”

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