Burial: Truant/Rough Sleeper Review
A new Burial EP, a new peal of cries from around the blogosphere. Along with
the usual girlish excitement, vaunted opinions, and so on, this one’s accompanied
by a (sadly doomed) Christmas number one Twitter campaign. Whereas his
last solo release, the Kindred EP back in February, was a surprise for a lot of
people. Because along with the usual Burial-ness – brittle found-sound garage
percussion, pitched vocals, forlorn synth swells, rainy distortion – there were
longer, more adventurous structures than he’s used before. Ones where every
so often, the track would drop out in a crackle of degraded vinyl, and something
very different would be introduced, as if he were sampling a series of shorter
In Truant/Rough Sleeper, the obscure producer goes even deeper into this. The
sections are shorter, the dropouts more silent, and when it changes, it changes
more completely. Especially in “Truant”, which moves through disparate scenes
like Godspeed You! Black Emperor. In “Rough Sleeper”, though, the effect is
lighter. The same themes re-emerge again and again, with an innocent, hopeful
kind of persistency.
It’s quite a positive EP – for him at least. It’s also one of his most gentle. “Truant”
feels like he’s written a track as usual, and then hollowed it out. You end up
filling in the blanks yourself, in your head. And “Rough Sleeper” is very open
hearted. It’s covered in smooth, reflective pads which echo early 90s ambient
music; in the same way that a lot of his output sounds like a funeral for the drum
and bass and garage raves back then.
Having said that, his emotions are usually fully dominant. In some contrast,
Truant/Rough Sleeper is more for the mind. Listening to it feels like reading a
book. This is what makes it exciting; it adds an extra dimension to the producer.
There’ll be people who wish it were more Burial – in other words, more like
his releases pre-Kindred. But his is a lofty pedestal, and that’s the kind of place
where you don’t stay if you never evolve.
By Dan Petry