Burial – Street Halo & Burial – Ego / Mirror Burial – Street Halo & Burial – Ego / Mirror

Burial | Thom York | Four Tet - Ego / Mirror

Burial | Thom York | Four Tet - Ego / Mirror

Do you remember when Burial exploded across the stratosphere leaving a trail of mysterious residue streaked against the sky? I do. It was between the years 2006 and 2008 when the mysterious producer released a handful of critically acclaimed albums, Eps and remixes. Burial’s popularity coincided with the rise of dubstep recognition. It also helped that this producer kept his identity secret leading to numerous speculations including the Thom York theory. Burial’s dubstep was different than the style’s most recognizable features. There was no wobble nor heavy bass drop. Burial’s music shuffled across concrete and was filled with the type of space reserved for abandoned cities and sprawling parking lots under halogen street lamps.  It was an alternative to the bass race which marked dubstep’s midlife. The now unmasked producer returns three years since his last substantial release to offer releases that are as sporadic as they are amazing.

“Street Halo” is a 12″ inch consisting of three songs. The single presents  itself on the A-side with equal, if not better, B-sides lying in wait. The Burial which streaked across the sky 3 years ago is remembered fondly on the Street Halo 12″. The title track opens strongly with a pronounced micro-house  beat and ghostly vocals emitted from distant corners.  It is almost impossible to think of Burial songs as commercial ready or even radio friendly, however “Street Halo” makes a strong case for a dance club hit — if that club was populated by the distant memories of a population long gone.  This fresh presentation is continued on the subsequent tracks, “NYC” and “Stolen Dog.” The hallowed and slightly repetitive nature of “NYC” is contrasted with the near bliss of the closer. “Stolen Dog” trades clockwork beats for a dreamy keyboard lines, abstract noises and multiple vocal tracks making it a strong competitor for best song on the record. The Street Halo 12″ is a decent enough offering from a producer widely respected. The decision to release a small EP could possibly be an indicator of either a third album lying or the remnants of a shattered follow-up. Either way, it is awesome.

Because the Street Halo 12″ is only 3 songs, I have decided to also include Burial’s collaboration with ethereal electronic producer Four Tet and everyone’s favorite Radiohead frontman Thom York. The “Ego/Mirror” collaboration was a diplomatic meeting between three electronic super powers to create something new and extraordinary. The collaboration is being released on another 12″ via Four Tet’s TEXT label in a black, near textless record jacket. It’s like, how much more black could this be? And the answer is none. None more black. The level of pretension is literally bursting at the seems.

This one off collaboration expands each of the party’s strengths providing a vessel for Thom York’s majestic croon. Four Tet takes lead in “Ego” with lush lounge instrumentation and light IDM ambience. Ego’s use of keyboards, distant repeating vocals is interesting but comes nowhere close to the brilliance of its sister. “Mirror” is not only the 12″s strongest track, it may be the best thing Burial, Four Tet and Thom York has done in the past 5 years. Yes, this even includes King Of Limbs. Burial’s heavy handed constructions to the backbeat s leaving Four Tet to ambiance allows Thom York’s vocals to come to the front. “Mirror” is the more finished track and is so impressive, it leaves the audience wanting a longer collaboration between these three visiting dignitaries.

Burial has always been the perfect soundtrack for 4am, rainy days and extended periods of isolation. The disembodied samples speak but rarely contribute lyrical substance. The choice to do sporadic releases not only keeps interest ablaze but also skirts intense criticism reserved for full lengths.  Both 12″s never ware out their welcome and only add more tinder under a long lasting flame of credibility.



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