Burial – Truant / Rough Sleeper
After Kindred, it was clear that reclusive producer Burial was reaching for the next plateau. Like those tracks, Truant and Rough Sleeper both clock in at around 12 minutes; each one containing several distinct movements.
Truant begins with narcotic, static-laden 2-step, before abruptly breaking into a more bass-led, darker, dub techno-edged sound. Vocals pitch in and out of the tense, claustrophobic mix – this is more lo-fi, twisted territory than Burial has ever explored before, with a mid-song breakdown that sounds like early Prodigy synth-stabs recorded onto hissing ferrous tape and listened to through a cough-syrup haze.
Rough Sleeper begins with hushed reverence, breaking into minimal 2-step with gorgeous, soulful vocals hidden in amongst the ever-present static. It's indescribably lush – at once melancholic, and more uplifting than anything in Burial's prior output. The second movement is even more unfamiliar territory – an ascending, major-chord melody, house rhythms and breathy male vocals produce perhaps the most mellow, transcendent mood of the EP, evoking rain-slick streets caught in a burst of sunlight as the clouds briefly part – a revelatory moment of light.
Defiantly uncommercial, pushing notions of EP and album to the side in favour of creating immersive, beautifully-realised sonic sculpture, and released with little fanfare or effort to court the press, Truant / Rough Sleeper continues to display Burial's mature, consistently exciting and challenging output, post-Untrue. [Bram E Gieben]