Monday, April 2, 2007

Parallel Dimension

Burial (Dubstep)
LP: Burial (2006)

The eponymously titled album by British 'dubstep' artist Burial is a superb record which seems to exist in its own parallel dimension.

Burial impresses immediately with his immaculate programming and production, but where he really scores big – and raises himself leagues above dubstep peers like Digital Mystikz and Kode9 - is with his expressive emotionalism, especially in his inspired sampling and manipulation of the human voice. He creates a vibe which is at the same time edgy and sad, and which satisfies the melodic/expressive/emotional criteria I just mentioned.

The many terrific tracks on this LP include the menacing Gutted, with its eerie “My love" refrain and Ghost Dog sample - not altogether ironically insisting that we “stick with the ancient ways”. The yearning Pirates is an homage to the spirit of dub and pirate radio which sounds like King Tubby on Prozac. My favorite track is perhaps You Hurt Me, where a haunting female voice intones the title over an lush sonic landscape of Arabic drones.

This exciting LP is perhaps the first landmark electronic release since Boards of Canada's Music Has the Right to Children. Like that recording, it inhabits its own sub-genre, defying easy classification. Yet despite its uniqueness Burial feels like a natural progession from all that's gone before. It invokes feelings of loss and sadness, but also a compelling sense of exploration and pursuit which proves that, if there are boundaries to electronic music, they exist only to be bust wide open by the imaginations of our most talented artists.


The Scandalest Bag said...

Yes, the Burial bloke did it for me too. Have heard about but never really heard dubstep til getting hold of this. Think it's the kind of thing that people will be citing as an important influence in years to come. Have to be in the right mood for it however - great in headphones on the Underground but not as a light introduction to a lazy Sunday however.

Shiffi Le Soy said...

Hello Scandalest Bag and thanx for your thoughts. Love the blog, any chance of posting some trax by Grilled Anorax? Great name.

The Scandalest Bag said...

Sorry - the bass player's brother disappeared with the GA tapes. If it's any help, the key reference points were: "Police and Thieves" by Junior Murvin, "Damaged Goods" by Gang of Four and "Mr Blue Sky" by ELO. Well that was the intention - probably ended up more like Jilted John.

Had a good read of your blog - excellent stuff - nice to know someone else in the world likes Burial, Midlake (seeing them next week!) and Ornette Coleman (shook my hand a few year's back).

You got a Last FM profile?

Shiffi Le Soy said...

Hi Scandalous blogger,

Thanx for the kind comments again.

Well I wonder if your tapes will turn up on bootleg? I think I saw something about "The Lost Grilled Anorax Tapes" in Record Collector magazine! They'll probably end up as a remix!

"Police and Thieves", "Damaged Goods" and "Mr Blue Sky" - now you're talking. I had all the original GoF singles on Fast Records (?). And you shook Ornette Coleman's hand? Hope you haven't washed it, you were touched by genius.

I don't have a Last FM profile, but I do stop by there to listen from time to time.

romperstomper said...

Hey Shiffi. I downloaded a couple tracks. Not bad!