We would have to ask all three of them how this collaboration came about. But from the outside, with nothing more to go on but intuition, I see it as pure math: Thom Yorke talks to Burial after he gave him his remix or the reconstruction of “The Eraser” and, shy as he is, he tells him, we’ll see. During the recording sessions for the single alongside Four Tet, maybe the question is raised in a conversation during a tea break, and it seems obvious that not only “ Wolf Cub” and “ Moth” are recorded but some other tracks, too. Like before, the bases of “ Ego” and “ Mirror” sound like 1+1: the typical muffled Burial 2step beat and, like on the A-side, phrasing with gamelan touches and exotic swing, where you can clearly hear the hand of Four Tet. Once the tracks are finished and shelved, the opportunity comes up to send them to Thom Yorke for his listening pleasure and so he can sing on top of them and return the material for post-production, during which his voice is manipulated, tracks are stolen to turn them into whispers in the background, and the result is the most viral 12” in ages: before the tracks were even available for listening, the single was already sold out in many stores.
After receiving it and listening to it carefully, the impression we get is the one we described above –I don’t know if it’s really like that, but it certainly sounds like it–: there is plenty quality, but maybe they haven’t taken full advantage of the resources at their disposal. The bases are good, unsurprisingly. Yorke’s lyrical and composing exercise is correct, but we’ve heard much better from him. Even so, there is a feeling of travelling, of experimentation, more so on “Ego” than on “Mirror”. “Ego” is a more finished song, the other side of the vinyl sounds more like a beat discarded by Burial, recovered for Yorke’s voice some re-touching in order to make it ready for release. It would be great if more would come from this 12”, if the trio would dedicate more time, effort and premeditation to the project, because then they would really be able to cause a stir in the pop world.