Maybe not an EP, exactly—but a 25-minute, two-track release, with both sides, “Truant” and “Rough Sleeper,” amounting to complex multi-part suites almost classical in scope. Yes, London-based producer Burial has shown us, once more, that he can do no wrong. Or at least make us forget all about James Blake for a while.
It’s a matter of healthy debate whether Burial (whose real name is William Bevan) represents a progressive distillation of fogged-up electronica or just a natural heir to Aphex Twin, another reclusive weirdo who seems able to pull spectral, beguiling beats out of any pile of pop music shreds and scraps. Indeed, as quiet and intimate as these songs become, they retain some infernal, dangerous quality.
Take “Truant,” for starters—that’s if nobody takes down this YouTube clip in the next thirty seconds. It’s doing a somewhat familiar dubstep pulse up top, complete with Burial’s trademark disembodied female R&B vocals. That percolates into a different rhythm, something vaguely Arabic, around minute four. Then a transition from minute six to seven gives us a shockingly melodic new phrase, a ravey wind-up that is wholly distinct and yet inseparable from what came before.
Then “Rough Sleeper”? Man, that’s some creepy, jazzy shit. Play it at my funeral and pretend to be ghosts flying around my coffin. Anyway, guy’s been at the top of his game for more than five years now. Let’s hope the spooky times last.
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