Burial: Beautiful Dread, Inviting and Sinister

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Tuesday's Pick

  • Song: "Ghost Hardware"
  • Artist: Burial
  • CD: Untrue
  • Genre: Electronic
Burial art 300

Burial's "Ghost Hardware" presents a sound that's lush and minimal, inviting and sinister. artwork from the cover of Burial's 'Untrue' hide caption

toggle caption artwork from the cover of Burial's 'Untrue'

Anxious people might want to break out the Klonopin before playing Burial's "Ghost Hardware." Sure, the song's warm Middle Eastern vocal hook, along with the clipped soul-singer sample featuring the words "love you," hint at a desire for warmth and connection. But the crackly lo-fi production, the fall-off-a-cliff bass line, and nervous drums invoke existential dread. And those haunted voices hovering in the background act like a Greek chorus murmuring about a foreboding future, telling you what you already know: Love is an apparition that comes and goes like the rain, yet will leave the soil forever altered.

Burial's music has been called "dubstep" and "2-step" in electronica's never-ending need to subdivide. And while Untrue touches on the grimness of the former and the R&B underpinnings of the latter, Burial disembodies both genres, leaving them gutted husks of descriptions for a sound that's lush and minimal, inviting and sinister.

William Bevan is Burial, a Londoner who would prefer to remain anonymous but was outed in February by The Independent newspaper in Britain. He's a graduate of Elliott School, which has turned out popular musicians of all sorts, from synth-pop favorite Hot Chip to the guitar-soloing wackos in DragonForce. But if Hot Chip aspires to make listeners sing and dance, and DragonForce inspires listeners to bang their heads, Burial makes them want to crawl into a fetal position and ponder lost loves during the course of a long rainy night.

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