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Burial (Dubstep)



UPC: 5024545486513

Format: LP

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If most musical projects aim for at least a measure of popular notoriety, the clandestine U.K. producer known as Burial seems to thrive on self-imposed anonymity. In interviews, the London-based dubstep artist explains his willful obscurity as an effort to draw a formal boundary between underground and pop--to effectively become "untrackable, unreadable, just a distant light." Whether this is pure hype-sheet driven strategy or a bona fide lob at the music business's cult of personality makes little difference; the immersive, emotive music found on his second album, UNTRUE, evinces a true perfectionist's touch. Drawing upon the euphoric "feminine pressure" vocals of 2-step garage and the malevolent bass rumble of darkside drum & bass, UNTRUE both elaborates upon and conflates genre clichés with a mix of irreverent deconstruction and reverential homage.
As in his eponymous debut, UNTRUE is daubed in a grainy, lo-fi ambience that casts a sinister fog over the rhythmic foreground. Ominous creaks, pops, and drizzles lurch furtively from some void, creating crackly accents or yawning, metallic squeaks. On "Ghost Hardware" the staccato syncopations of garage are either distended into growling bass undertow, or crumpled into shards of asymmetrical flourish. Against the metronomic clack of a woodblock-like rimshot, female voices coo seductively like spectral sirens. While much of the vocals are undoubtedly sourced from R&B samples, they are manipulated to the point that they become another layer of sound. "Archangel" could be mistaken for a conventional 2-step track if not for the strange, cyborgized vocal samples. Flitting between female and male often within the same bar, the digital pitch variations create a post-human sense of longing--a voice trailing off in resignation. The album closes with the elegiac "Raver." A nod to the U.K. rave subculture, its classic house thump frames a stately string part--perfectly capturing the youthful optimism and utopian ideals of a bygone music revolution.


1 - Archangel
2 - Near Dark
3 - Homeless
4 - Shell of Light
5 - Raver
6 - Etched Headplate
7 - Untrue
8 - UK
9 - Endorphin