Most of Burial’s output in the years since his game-changing LP altogether in one place. What’s not to like? There’s nothing new on ‘Tunes 2011-2019’, with the man who is maybe-possibly known to his mates as William Emmanuel Bevan selecting his favourite tunes from his excellent EP run of the past eight years. It’s interesting charting the progression of Burial’s music over the time-period, with his greyscale garage sound expanded to incorporate drone and dark ambient influences but still staying true to the project’s root style. ‘Tunes 2011-2019’ represents the first time some of these tunes have been released on CD.
CD £14.95 HDBCD048
2CD on Hyperdub. 17 tracks across 150 minutes, all previously released, six being available on CD for the first time.
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Nobody makes music like Burial. His album 'Untrue' is one of the most perfectly-wrought developments in modern electronic music. By fusing elements of garage and dubstep with processed RnB vocal samples, he was able to capture the atmosphere of a bustling, alien metropolis in which one feels alone. Burial has selected tracks from the EPs he released over the the past eight years into a collection with the enjoyably utilitarian title 'Tunes 2011-2019'. As you'd expect, it's a beautiful and haunting coup de maître from one of our most important innovators.
Until a friend pointed it out to me, I hadn't realised that the collection progresses from mostly beatless ambient stuff through to the crushed garage rhythms and breathy melange that Burial is most well-known for. 'Tunes 2011-2019' opens with the glassy ambience of 'State Forest', all swooping textures and giant spaces, before becoming more and more percussive, ending with the skeletal flourishes of 'Stolen Dog' and 'NYC'. The collection, then, works on two levels: one, as a compilation of Burial's best recent work, and two, as a perfectly-executed radio mix.
The collection hits a peak with 'Rival Dealer' which sees Burial in aggressive form. The track even borders on techno at one point, with thrilling syncopated hi-hats and bass that bristles with baleful rage. The three-minute coda of 'Rival Dealer' tempers the aggression of the inital seven minutes. It's a barnstorming finish, with an elegaic chord progression, the sound of falling rain, and those devastating autotuned vocals.
Another highlight is the sadly presciently-titled 'Rough Sleeper', a track that's up there with the best things Burial has ever done. That minor chord progression, the sense of blank melancholy, the wistful vocoder motif, my God what a triumph. The way it flows and changes, and develops, and revolves is almost anti-radio play but it remains completely engaging. It's a celestial piece of music.
I'll end because I'm gushing and using way too many adjectives. Burial captures the feel of the city when the last bus has run its course and the sun is yet to herald the burn of morning. He is a modern master.
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- Tunes 2011 - 2019 by Burial
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