I was once told that discovering Burial is akin to finding a gold piece in a pile of steaming dog shit (no I wasn’t). Now, I’m rather fond of dubstep. But I’m trying to keep the diehard Radiohead fans reading after spotting the name ‘Thom Yorke‘, before they all roll their eyes and pop back to listening to King of Limbs on their iPods and dawdle off to buy wool. Or take antihistamines. Or something else that Radiohead fans like to do.
Still, I understand the sentiment. Burial’s work is often bemoaned even by the ‘brostep’ crowds, who complain that its repetitive nature and lack of ability to give the face a WOBWOBWOB BASS yoga work out make for uninteresting listening. I do not concur, however. I find that the success in Burial’s music comes from the atmosphere. It’s a distinctly London sound. It’s powerful, it’s beautiful. Tracks such as Archangel sound a little like what I imagine Brian Eno would create during a mescaline binge.
I guess you could say I really ‘dig’ Burial. Wink.
So when I heard the words “Burial and Four Tet and Thom Yorke,” I had to wobble off to the ladies before I wet myself in excitement (and also because I’d had like six cups of coffee to stay up during the day). Thom “don’t-look-at-the-fucking-eye” Yorke, with his distinctive warble and perfectionist lyricism, Four Tet’s melty Bonobo-esque clicky music (which I also adore) and Burial? In the same track? All there together in a little saucy ambient threesome?
Let me just reach for the proverbial masturbatory aid.
And yet the three of them together is almost as much a problem as it is a bloody glorious benefit. See there’s only so much track space to go about, and the overall effect is that the listener almost has to struggle to hear the track as a stand alone bit. The brain is constantly darting from chunk to chunk of the track slab, wrestling itself to hoot at you “OH CHRIST, LISTEN TO THAT” and “WOULD YOU JUST LISTEN TO THAT?!”
But really. Whilst ‘Ego’ puts out a boot-march beat and warm (absolutely delicious) wiggling bass, Thom Yorke’s vocals breathe a lovely Jack Frost coolness over it all. Four Tet bobs in later with a drizzle of percussion; a garnish that would be sure to make even Gregg Wallace visibly excited. ‘Mirror’ makes you feel a little tingle in the end bit when Yorke purrs treacle gently over that oozing sound. Yum yum yum.
In short, both tracks are fucking splendid. It’s great that this collab has also popped out in time for the beginning of summer, because it sounds like exactly what we need after watching various governments and dictatorships gunning down their people (RIP people), the coalition proposing to smash up the NHS and education into little bits (RIP society) and Japan getting swathed in an earthquake, nuclear alerts and also water and then more earthquakes (RIP more people, and anime).
Yeah. Go have a listen to this melty-moany mix-up music and at least try to pretend that the world we’re launching ourselves into isn’t a complete mess.