I'm not sure how many dubstep fans I have on my friends list here so I may be talking into a void, but after several listens of Burial's second album Untrue I can't keep it to myself. His first album was one of my most played and favourite releases from last year and I've been counting down to his second which was kept quiet and only announced last month, not long before its release in a few days. It's leaked surprisingly close to the release date, but those hungry for it, like myself, couldn't wait a few extra days. It was well worth it as I'm loving what I hear from start to finish, however I'm unsure yet if it will surpass his first album for me; that one holds a special place. His music is refreshingly dark and beautiful without ever becoming too heavy or draining, Untrue in particular has an uplifting vibe. He's become my most loved dubstep artists because of how intimate and homegrown his music is, it feels like he's made something he genuinely wanted as a theme to accompany his everyday life and apparently a lot of other people had been seeking this sound as well. This music is dark London nights through and through, the soundtrack I always wanted for my midnight train journeys and I finally found it in this mysterious artist.
A few standout tracks from Untrue. You can order the album on Boomkat.
Burial - Archangel
Burial - Shell of Light
Burial - Untrue
Burial - Homeless
As a bonus, the mix Burial did of Jamie Woon's Wayfaring Stranger is stunning:
Jamie Woon - Wayfaring Stranger (Burial Mix)
'I'm a bit like a rubbish super-hero ..." says Burial, shyly. The underground dubstep producer - whose debut LP was one of last year's critical smashes, and whose second is one of this year's most anticipated - makes the comparison because he leads two lives. The young south-Londoner slips anonymously through normal life, with few knowing that he has a separate musical existence as Burial. Equally, few of those who know him as Burial have any idea of his identity outside music.
Burial doesn't do DJ gigs, live performances or radio shows, and only a few photos exist of him, taken by the photographer Georgina Cook, and obscured to conceal his identity. "Only about five people outside of my family know I make tunes, I think. I hope," he says.
When Burial does turn up, he talks with incredible passion and sincerity - and does it so quietly that my Dictaphone barely picks up his voice, making him sound in playback like a ghostly presence. Which is appropriate, because Burial's richly atmospheric music leaves you feeling slightly removed from the tangible world. His debut was clouded in pirate-radio crackle and cassette fuzz, the soundscapes dotted with the sound of rain, fire and distant voices. It became a word-of-mouth sensation far beyond the dubstep scene...
"It's just the way I am. I can't step up, I want to be in the dark at the back of a club. I don't read press, I don't go on the internet much, I'm just not into it. It's like the lost art of keeping a secret, but it keeps my tunes closer to me and other people."
Burial's privacy stems from a fascination with what he describes as the "dark light" of UK club culture - enjoying music more the less you know about its makers. "I love that with old jungle and garage tunes, when you didn't know anything about them, and nothing was between you and the tunes. I liked the mystery; it was more scary and sexy, the opposite of other music."
His own music, though, isn't really made to be listened to in clubs. "It's more about when you come back from being out somewhere; in a minicab or a night bus, or with someone, or walking home across London late at night, dreamlike, and you've still got the music kind of echoing in you, in your bloodstream, but with real life trying to get in the way. I want it to be like a little sanctuary. It's like that 24-hour stand selling tea on a rainy night, glowing in the dark. It's pretty simple."
Burial's second album, Untrue, is punctuated by the skippy drums and "girl-next-door" vocals of two-step garage and early jungle. Elsewhere, the sounds that make up his night-time sketches are lo-fi - he has only worked in a proper studio a few times in his life, a fact he is mildly embarrassed about. He confesses that his favourite sounds are sampled from "Vin Diesel's car keys in a film, bullet casings hitting concrete in Metal Gear Solid on the PlayStation". Another is the sound of his brother's lighter sparking. Burial's music succeeds because of this warmth, this closeness to real life, which marks it out from the super-produced efforts of certain goliaths of dance music, all clean lines and smooth edges.
So what is the mood of Untrue? What was Burial doing while he thought about how it should be made? He sums it up: "I would sit around waiting for night to fall, wait for summer to end. Or I would go out, wait for it to get dark, and then I'd go back and work on it, sort of hypnotise myself. I love that feeling when you know that almost everyone in your city is asleep, or you go out and listen to your tunes in someone's car at night. It's like hibernating.
"When I'm awake all night, sometimes I see the people and the city waking up around me. I feel a little bit moody at them for stepping into my night-time. What I want is that feeling when you're in the rain, or a storm. It's a shiver at the edge of your mind, an atmosphere of hearing a sad, distant sound, but it seems closer - like it's just for you. Like hearing rain or a whale-song, a cry in the dark, the far cry."
Read the full article: http://music.guardian.co.uk/urban/story/0,,2198811,00.html
i've never been too keen on dubstep but since this recommend comes from you, i'll give it a try. the guy certainly sounds interesting.
i suspect i'd need to be in the right mood/setting for it to hit the spot, though. maybe i'll skip listening in the car and keep it for a quiet day at work when i can slip out at lunchtime and walk along the river for an hour or so. both the albums are waiting on my iaudio and my big cans are ready in my bag :)
well i took a walk yesterday and have been through both albums once. so far the first album stands out more - i love the beat programming and most of the production. but i was reminded of the reason why i dislike dubstep: it never goes anywhere! each track always seems to be on the edge of something without ever quite getting there. maybe i'm primitive in this way but i like to have the occasional climax (!). i had a huge case of mental blue balls listening to this.
"spaceape" is awesome. "southern comfort" is good, too, but i kept waiting for a huge bassline to drop.
the singing annoyed me enough to skip through most of the tracks on "untrue".
A lot of dubstep leaves me cold, it often seems like they're trying to show off too much for my liking. What caught my attention with Burial was the warmth and soul that he injects into his tunes, they seem to come from a very honest place.
each track always seems to be on the edge of something without ever quite getting there.
It's funny you say that, because that's part of what I like about it.. it feels refreshing to have something different to the typical rise and fall. I guess it can be compared to a lot of ambient in that respect.
The pitch-shifting vocals on Untrue seems to have polarized a lot of people, some find it maddening and others love it. At times I think it's a bit overused, but it gives a distinctly different feel to his first album and overall I enjoy it.
Sorry you weren't able to enjoy it as much as I do, but glad you gave it a try!