Hyperdub sent me the new Burial album, ANTIDAWN, which was released on January 28. At the time of writing, I’ve listened to it at least a dozen times.
Do you remember when those digital tools came out that allowed people to clip the music out of a song to expose just the vocals? My first reaction to ANTIDAWN was that Burial had clipped the notes out of his sound to leave just the atmospherics. That’s not quite a correct reading, but, on the initial experience, it feels right. There is music, but it’s pared away, and it’s made to feel diegetic inside the field sound recordings he presents.
There are, as ever, hints of London pirate radio and snatches of night-bus sonics. There is walking in the city through rain, and echoes of distant church services in the dark. Burial has often been about a solitary outsider’s experience of music, culture, its memory and its remains. But ANTIDAWN feels to me like the loneliest thing he’s ever done. It’s sitting on your own listening to the radio in the dark. It’s standing alone by the river at night while life and music pulses away a mile behind your back. I imagine there’ll be the tendency to see this as a lockdown record, but if you listen closely, it’s not. You can still hear people living together in the background. It’s the sound of someone separated from the world, but who still loves the sound of it.
In ANTIDAWN, Burial cuts everything back to expose a powerful sense of apartness, in an affecting and sorcerous act of creative bravery.
Thank again to Marcus at Hyperdub for sending it to me. I love it.