Monday, December 10, 2007

Burial - Untrue

Firstly, I have to apologize to all my loyal readers (close family and friends) who have been missing, and yearning for my return to the written word. Thank you for your loyalty and support. I've been lazy. It's not just writing that goes on here. I listen to the music, let it settle and jingle in my head for a bit, do background reading (so that I sort of know what I'm talking about. or at least give that illusion), read others' reviews (just to see where I fall on the opinion-meter), formulate, and finally try to make sense of it all. Some artists/albums are easier than others and come more naturally and organically. But overall, I've been lazy. Hopefully, I can right the ship. Thanks for your patience. Let's get crackin'.

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Admittedly, I know very little about dubstep but will try to enlighten the small masses. The almighty Wikipedia defines it as being, "distinguished by its dark mood, sparse rhythms, and emphasis on bass." This doesn't help much. Let's try and dig deeper. It's electronic dance music that originated in London out of its garage scene and has been around for less than 10 years. Rhythm and bass are two of the key ingredients for successful dubstep music. The rhythm is usually of the syncopated and/or shuffle variety, and deep bass propels the music with it's quickened tempo. The layers of sound often come from samples on top of each other and repeated and mixed in a variety of ways. For example, you may have a vocal sample that you repeat in a variety of ways, stopping at different points for emphasis and variation. I could go on, but that's a pretty good outline to go on.

Burial (the artist) is an anonymous dude in London making incredible dubstep albums. His debut was released just back in 2006 and was critically praised across the board. He returns (per se) with his equally exceptional (better, actually) follow-up titled Untrue. The album is not something to enter into lightly. You have to open your mind and let the music flow around you (hope that isn't too snobby). But seriously, it's one of those albums where you put it on your stereo and just lay down on a couch or bed, close your eyes, and listen. Imagining how to piece together the various elements and sounds. Some tracks are more up-tempo than others but the albums flows quite well from track to track and doesn't really become monotonous. The way Burial incorporates vocals into the album is really why this is almost on masterpiece level for the genre. The vocals pitches are bent, they're stretched in length and shortened when need be. It feels more real than it actually is. Through these vocal techniques Burial is able to convey more emotion that is typically absent from most dubstep work that is produced for dance purposes. For a more pretentious evaluation check Pitchfork. Sorry for no pictures of the guy, but as he's said in an interview with his label, "only five people know I make tunes." It's got to be kinda cool to be anonymous.

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