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Burial BurialStreet Halo

9 / 10

Burial  Street Halo HYPERDUB (HDB013, 12”)

It’s not true that Burial has gone four years without releasing anything; apart from the Four Tet collabs, there’s “Fostercare”, from the “5 Years Of Hyperdub” compilation, and “Prophecy”, which was on post-grime overview “Nu Levels”, selected by El-B, without forgetting about the remixes for Commix, Bloc Party and Thom Yorke, which makes for a meagre list, but just enough to not disappear into oblivion. But in Burial’s case, with two albums to his name that have changed history, four years can seem an eternity, it could even work to his disadvantage. In fact, the most recent fruits of his work, “Prophecy” and “Be True” (the aforementioned Commix remix), already got lukewarm reviews of the “it’s okay but we expected more from him” kind. The suspicion that the angel had left the man called William Bevan was a remote possibility, albeit feasible, given the time gone by since “Untrue”, and only the reappearance of Burial in his pure state would clear any doubts. Well, the enigma is solved: the three new Burial tracks are up to par, and very much so.

In truth, nothing has really changed much: the form is still the same as on “Untrue” –the melancholic, ghostly and distant use of voices; the production of muffled beats surrounded by static and a layer of mist, the variety of tempos with the broken rhythms of 2step as starting point–, and there aren’t variations in substance, either. That’s the crux: the stabs in the heart are still deep and hard, bringing to light what his advantage is, the only secret his many imitators have never achieved to decode. Only Burial is capable of breaking you down with the desolation that invades a track like “Stolen Dog”, which resumes and updates the imagery associated to his sound: foggy dawn, the rain against the window, sleepless nights with neon light lighting up the closed-off room, returning home in the dead of night in a terrible mood. And alongside that gem, there are two more: “NYC”, which sounds like the extension of the memorable “Etched Headplate” from “Untrue”, and the best track of the single, “Street Halo”, as up-tempo as “Raver”, with a unique construction of a beat that is vaguely close to techno. In its first minute, a flash of paralysing energy, everybody has already shut up: the time passed doesn’t matter, nor does the noise generated behind his back, the amount of productions – Burial is and will be ahead of everyone.

Javier Blánquez

Burial - Street Halo 2011

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