Title: Rival Dealer
Label: Hyperdub http://www.hyperdub.net
Keywords: 2-step ambient house, dubstep, trip-hop, experimental, Samples, future garage.
Reviewer: Cameron Thomson
Rival Dealer is the seventh extended play by British electronic music artist Burial. It was issued by record label Hyperdub and released digitally on 11 December 2013, with a physical release following five days later. This lovely little EP is the 3rd installment of what I see as some sort of “thing” that Burial is going for with his latest EPs. They all have 3 tracks, they are each more different than the last and they all blow my little mind to pieces with their ability to shift my consciousness to a deeper level & appreciate more music that I would not usually listen to. You might as me, “Why does it do that to you, oh previously bearded Scottish weirdo?” I’ll tell you in due time.
Lets get cracking with this review then, shall we?
The first and title track, “Rival Dealer”, begins as we would expect any other Burial track to, a muted love-sigh of a female swamped behind crackles of a vinyl record. Faint rain and sound that perks you up as its goes from ear to ear, an aeroplane? YES! Its like he is setting us up to take flight but we are already in the air… arent we? This track is like 10 mins long so this will be a long one as I take my time going through it. Lets stop and think for a moment then, shall we? If you are, like me, a fan of his work, our expectation of this will be higher than what it will usually be for a musician, be it Lady Gaga, Sigur Ros, Flying Lotus or Beiber. Don’t let this guy get into your head though, you have every reason to be expecting anything as his genre defining tones are only heard of with a few artists who have paved the way and set what now becomes the fads you want to hate but cant get enough of. This is it. He is what he makes and no one can come close because we still dont know who he is… Forget all that though. Let go and be ready. The cracle of a radio slinking into a lovely warm pad or bass, hightening the sensations. Rain battering down. Its here. The voice comes. “Im going to love you more than anyone” The refrain that is heard throughout this track. Note it. Love yourself more than anyone, you deserve it. The bass rumbles again with a lovely indian feel type horn to it. Piercing white noise tones shadow over this like the days you didnt want to go to school because it was raining that heavy. So far so good, eh? Its well done and so far, what we know of Burial to throw at us. Re refrain of vocals again and more crackles lead to a beat that we are not familiar with when listening to Burial. Its a breakbeat and its good. Its got the feel to it. In a way it makes sense to have it, with the vocals ooing and umming over the bass we began with it comes together nicely. It is a bit on the high end side though. All those cracles, noises and things do go for me. Distant voices, aaahs and a little break in the beat (break… beat anyone?) The horn, bass, vocal & break conintue for a second till.. Nothing “this is who I am” the voice utters. She is staring at you and alright that you are paying attention but wants you to accept it. Its Burial. He sets what he does and thats ok. The breakbeat goes on with a lovers tone, night music for those who just need something to love. She says she will love you more than anyone, let her. The bass is lifted up higher in volume and it continues with small samples behind it all. Keeping you locked in. Almost halfway through the track we stop and pick it up again with the break. Its getting to be something you are aware of and suspect something more will come of it. The break fades out with the voice and her “I will love you more than anyone” with an added “till the end” that may kick you if you are with me on this. Another sampled voice talking about finding yourself comes and a strange contrasting feel comes from the music. What is this? Hardcore? 90’s gabber? No.. the bass drumm is not heavy enough. It works through in a Burial type way. Yeah, we are still listen to the same guy! Its got a lovely synchopated feel to it. The snare is not much but adds an inflection that I suppose is benefitting the overall balance and timbre of the beat. The usual background samples are there “this is who I am” churns, turns, weird arabian feels, clicks pops and I, personally, am loving it. Before too long, It breaks into a half-step rhythm and then dissapates so that all that is left is the arabian horn.. its building again and just like before we have a rise of consistency coming to our ears. Its very well planned, peaks, valleys, stops, breaks, builds, plateaus of sound that vanish but leave you just wishing it would be a little more like his old stuff. Thats just me though. The beat goes on till a delayed voice builds to a piano with rain falling on the window “ive been watching you”. The very sparse beat is a direct contrast of the afforementioned one. “I wanna be you” the voice continues. Very beautiful, voicalizing and drifing into thr clouds. With all that reverb, I would be too. “This is who I am.” A cheesy type lovers feel to this synth comes to us. There is nothing with it. Another sample talking about the scenery she sees makes the soinds you are hearing one for the city at night when you can enjoy it most & no-one is there to pester you. She tells us that something “come down to us” before there is nothing left of this brilliant work of a first track. Phew!
“Hiders” breaks us in again with rain, but as Eric Draven said, “it cant rain all the time..”. Will someone please tell this to Burial?! A vocal sample and a piano take us in. Its bright. Cheerful and full of wonder! Wow, this is unexpected. Another chopped up sample of a singer fades and the piano comes back at us with its 3 chords. Its not much. Bass buldging behind it. “I love you, i’ll always protect ya”.. Wow, this, from BURIAL?! The bass deepens and the voice utters its magic again, synths and bass come out of nowhere, the beat is building in the background made of a sub and a small craclkle that could be the fire popping. There is hardly anything to it, but behind the synth pad, bass and vocals (and the usual vinyl things thrown in) it makes it more dreamy than anything. STOP.. There is a break and I just want to take this time to say.. wait for it… Its an 80’s synthpop beat straight from the electro dancefloor! A good kick, hi-hats, and a lovely snare with a big reverb. 80’s style toms when the fill hits. As it goes on there is another break with what sounds like a break beat just catching the tail end of it. The beat goes on and stops for a vocalized reverb laden “aaaaaaaaah” more rain!.. Oh my god, we will be drowned! GET THE BOATS! CALL THE LIFE GUARD! “Come down to us” a voice says and a some pads hint a malevolent yet loving progression. “will you take me away?”… yes he will.. and the track finishes. Now what I was going on about earlier when I said that his music has an “ability to shift my consciousness to a deeper level & appreciate more music that I would not usually listen to.” This track is a prime example.
The 13 minute and 8 second “Come Down To Us” begins with someone telling us that they are lost… So am I. Lets get the hell on with going where we need to be going! A whistle and a warm pad swell into the ear. The progression is as much as what the rest has been, simple yet still evolving. The beat comes in with a sitar, synths overpower the sitar soon enough as the voices travel. Much like you’d expect them to. It builds a little then he takes it away from us. As soon as we want it back the voices keep coming and the sitar is back. “Come down to us”. The progression of the melody is so simple it will be stuck in your head. The beat drops itself away till an alarm calls us in. “Dont be afraid to step into the unknown” a woman tells us. If this is anything to go by, the clique-esque, genre toting, “im into this and im cool” gang will not get this reference. Keep it with you and remember where he had led you. A whale sound, with a beat, synths, small, different from the first but work with the sitar that comes in and it goes minor. The gravel bass comes in just in time for it all to go away and come back again. Back, back and forth and forth. “Cmon”. This is very medatative to me. Its just what I need and then the voice will tell us “let go”, “dont be afraid”, “im going”.. Is anyone getting all this? The beat goes and the voice tells it to “go”.. Half-way through the track andother whale type sound comes out of the waves of sound. Female voices “ahh” and a new rhythm kicks in. Its got a gated clap and a female voice is leading the way. Its very cheesy and is the sort of thing we just did not expect at all. Its like we are listening to a boy band. The synth goes on and the beat kicks in again. Very 90’s and the pop feel to it is very unnerving. It keeps going till you listen to it. The vocals change and the backing stays the same, its very well throught out. HE must have spent a while looking for something that would fit that progression or made it work regardless. Its falls away and just when we can bear no more, we want more. “You are not alone”. I, for one, am smiling when i listen to this. Its good to smile and I think Burial knows this too. “you are not alone” again… are we? Burial seems to be sure of it. Meybe HE is the alien! A voice comes in to talk to us. Listen close. Behind it is wind, and OH THE RAIN… vinyl and so forth. The voice talks more and if you listen really hard and I mean really hard and think of what they are saying. “Who are you, why did you come to me?” a whistle and before we know it, the ride of this EP is over.
The contrasts and depths taking into making this is brilliant, the vocal sampling and such are just to the point and leave me wondering why he keeps using the same samples for the vinyl and everything? Its like he is running out of ideas and decided to do us a favour and be who he is. Someone who loves themself. Someone who loves us more than anyone. In all it gives a very grand feel of nostalgia and longing for more by the end but no doubt he will be back with something again. Lets just hope he doesnt leave it ANOTHER YEAR till it comes out and blows my and your mind again!
SOMEONE CALL THE DOCTOR, MY BRAIN HAD BEEN BLOWN AGAIN!!!