If it weren't for the fact he is locked in his room like a pearl in an oyster's shell, the modern equivalent of the bedroom producer with hikikomori (who doesn't speak to anyone, or rather, from anyone from the media) - it would be interesting if we could ask Burial what is going through his mind these days, how he thinks about things like space and eternity, from his solitary confinement. Unfortunately, that will never happen, so we can only speculate - like modern Physicists do with the Cosmos - and take a chance. “Kindred EP” sounds like Burial because all of his essential characteristics are there in all their purity (the ghostly vocals between coldness and passion, the carefully chiselled breaks, the synths that sound like moving water), but there is a nuance, a change, the presence of a Burial with a different tone - adapted to some dimensions, physical and mental, of expansion. As if - as a product of his physical seclusion from society - he wants to transcend beyond his limits through his mind.
How to describe it? Words don't come easy. This is, apparently, a deeper Burial, more hidden in his own feelings. Or maybe a more evasive Burial - trying to escape upwards, leaving the atmosphere and the geostationary orbit, to dissolve as if his liquidity (after being heated up), were to vaporise, unstoppable. It's a more extensive Burial (longer, duration-wise; two of the tracks last over eleven minutes) and it's a Burial going through different phases, transforming with his own energy - going from the solid beat that gives structural meaning to a piece to an evanescent coda, sometimes with hardly any transition between one stage or the other. Burial, he who played more with textures than anyone else, now also dares defy the rectitude of the structures.
The roots of “Kindred EP”, within his own chronology, should maybe not be sought in “Street Halo EP” (Hyperdub, 2010) - though “Loner” is, along with “Raver”, the epic final of “Untrue”, and the title track of that single is the track with the most BPM in Will Bevan's repertoire – but rather in the two Massive Attack remixes released late last year on “Four Walls / Paradise Circus”. The limited edition single is now a collector's item on The Vinyl Factory, on which he forced the advancement of the tracks like an explorer through a jungle forest - cutting weeds and penetrating the unknown until almost reaching the 15-minute mark on each side of the record. Apparently, Burial no longer fears the long run. Both “Kindred” and “Ashtray Wasp” (around eleven and a half minutes each) are forced to go on when everything already seems to have been said, only out of the need to prolong a state that enters and exits hypnosis as it pleases - increasing its emotional effect, not by concision, but by multiplication. “ Kindred” starts with a floating minute that suggests an idyllic place, quickly broken by some beats that seem sculpted by a chisel in marble, reminiscent of the old titles on the Metalheadz label: Drum’n’Bass in slow motion, like Photek escaping from his labyrinth with Icarus' wings. But what could be a simple piece of experimentation in the margins of UK Garage ends up turning into incandescent and cold matter at the same time. It starts from scratch after some one-minute stops and features a conclusion that seems like an anti-climax because of its devastating effect - capable of destroying any pleasure centre, cancelling it out after such an intense discharge.
The same formula is repeated on “ Ashtray Wasp”, except for the beat - tighter, more 4x4 - sustained over layers of synths and the classic androgynous vocals (neither masculine nor feminine, much less angelical, a trademark feature since “Untrue”). Again it features interruptions, the same returns to the start (with variations), the same disintegration of time and the feeling of its passing. One gets the impression that, the longer the tracks, the more estranged from reality Burial feels – the music sounds more beautiful because of this. There are moments (the impasses when the beat stops, the mood gets rough and the textures crunch, the bass swells up and the high notes get sharper) when so much sublimation becomes unbearable. One seems to be on the verge of exploding like a supernova, of merging with that material dissolution like in an Orphic ceremony. On the other end, “ Loner” is a short track in comparison, only seven minutes, also with a Cosmic intro and supported by a Tech-House-like beat and a hypnotic, humming bassline. It ends meekly among thunder and silence, undone, like a lump of sugar in the vast ocean. In other words: he's done it again.