26 November 2007

Burial - 'Untrue'

Much has been written about this bloke. In some ways - although don't I always say this? - he's the perfect artist for our time: blank, anonymous, open-ended for your own interpretation. As an image, it's a shrewd one. A Banksy-like air of deliberate mystery never did anyone any harm, but then aren't most of us hiding behind constructed, distilled personas online?

The music all sounds the same, and the new record sounds pretty much like the old one. This is what he does. You listen to the whole thing; it doesn't really make sense to pick out isolated tunes. If I was feeling pretentious I would call it a soundscape. It's murmurous, concealed music, muffled voices hinting at hidden depths. It holds back. Occasionally you could dance to it, but then it frustrates itself. It's cool, detached. It is, of course, for once a realisation of that often misused, politically confused term, urban music. This music is uber-urban, and utterly London. It's arguable whether anywhere else other than the endless hinterlands of the world's greatest city could have produced something like this right now.

It's a cliche - and sometimes you can only embrace them - to call this 4am music, driving round the south circular music, sitting in a laundrette watching the drum revolve music, eating takeaway chicken music. It's all that but this morning I realised something else, which is why, tired and jet-lagged, I write. My job - which obviously secretly I love - occasionally scoops me up and dumps me in hot, distant places for a week or two to do some work. Flying back this morning from a spell in East Africa I realised where this music really works: it's music to listen to on a plane, that disembodied, unreal experience, at a time when you don't even know what time it is any more and when you're awake but can't do anything. This morning this record made perfect sense. It helped me. It was better than sleep.

Why not buy this from Sounds of the Universe records? I always enjoy getting their emails and they seem genuinely enthusiastic about all this kind of stuff.

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