REVIEW: Burial Kindred EP

How do you write about BURIAL? I feel like I’m trying to describe the depths of the ocean floor or catalogue the birth of the universe. The more you try to understand or recount, the less you know, the further you fall into the void.

Burial, aka William Bevan, is a producer from London, signed to the Hyperdub label. He doesn’t play live and hasn’t spoken to a journalist in years. There’s a single, indistinct photo of him on the Internet. He released Burial in 2006 and Untrue in 2007, at first synthesizing and then transcending UK club subgenres and R&B. Since then, his output has been scattered. There’s been production for Jamie Woon, vinyl-only collaboration with Massive Attack, Thom Yorke and Four Tet, and even his own Street Halo EP, all released without publicity, fanfare or even a basic explanation.

Which is where Burial’s Kindred EP, released earlier this week, comes in. No interviews, no press kits, no real artwork. Just thirty minutes of music over three tracks.

The opener, ‘Kindred’, is a continuation of the classic Burial style. The throbbing bass and snapping percussion that became dubstep; the woozy, affected samples now heard from The Weeknd; the unrecognizably pitch-shifted vocals used by artists like James Blake. ‘Loner’ follows with a warped take on house: a beat you can’t quite put your finger on, and a rushing euphoria barely contained by numb stupor. ‘Ashtray Wasp’ is a three-day rave compressed into eleven minutes, lurching from epic crescendo to breathless pause to head-nodding groove.

Kindred is Burial at his vastest. The tracks extend out into space, twisting and shifting like gusts of wind through a rainfall of vinyl crackle. Faint sounds emerge from this storm: the clicking of a lighter, a murmured conversation, snatches of an old dancefloor anthem, the echoes of city street ambience. This is the multi-suite score for our contemporary urban opera. Nobody else is making music like Burial.

Have a listen over at Hyperdub.

Words by Matt Nielson.

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