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the thousand yard stare

...crackle-drenched yearning and bustling syncopations haunted by the ghosts of rave...

...weird soul music, hypersoul, lovingly processing spectral female voices into vaporised R&B and smudged 2step garage. Voices are blurred, smeared, pitched up, pitched down and pitch bent until their content becomes irrelevant and they whisper their saccharin sweet nothings into the void.

Which goes to illustrate that reviewing music is an art in itself, with a highly specialized vocabulary often verging on lyrical poetry. The music described here is Burial's second album 'Untrue', reviewed by Kode9, who's been releasing Burial on his Hyperdub label.

Like 'Burial', his selftitled first album, 'Untrue' has been filed under dubstep, mostly because of the association with Kode9 (whose own album with the Spaceape, 'Memories of the Future', pretty much defined the genre). In fact, Burial is hard to label, ranging from ambient to drum 'n bass and everything in between, all awash with "crackle-drenched yearning". Or, again quoting Kode9:

Burial carves out a sound which sends the dormant slinky syncopations of uk garage, via radio interference, into a padded cell of cushioned, muffled bass, passing through the best of Pole's Berlin crackle dub.
Burial - Burial

Adding to the mystery and underground feel of these albums that came out of nowhere to become critics' darlings in 2006 and 2007 is the fact that the London-based musician behind Burial remains anonymous - insisting that his tunes speak for him, just as he insists on his own 'amateurish', outsider way of making music. In his own words, from an in-depth, fascinating 2006 interview:

There's no 'musicianship' in my sound, that's the enemy of my tunes. Fuck Rhodes chords, fuck that noodle stuff. There's been a lot of times when producers I’ve liked have gone all 'musician' on me and just produced shit, not underground.

'The Car Test' started with me boring the fuck out of my mates, trying to play tunes. The car test was 'do they sound good on the car stereo at night time, driving through London?' That’s 'The Car Test.' Some Detroit tunes have that too, that distance in the tune. The 'thousand yard stare' in the tune.

Needless to say, both albums contain plenty of that thousand yard stare.

Recommended:

iffr: modell 5

Already over a decade old, Granular Synthesis' 1996 installation ' Modell 5 ' still makes for an incredibly intense audiovisual experience. It was shown at V2 during this year's Exploding Cinema section of the Film Festival Rotterdam… Read the full post »

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