Wednesday, December 14, 2011


As I continue getting some year-end lists in order (I'll hopefully have the first round of album of the year stuff up tomorrow--honourable mentions/things that just missed the cut of the actual list), I came across an absolutely unforgivable omission to my "Ten Songs I've Loved in 2011" list. I didn't even consider this because for some reason I forgot it came out in 2011 (I was convinced it had come out in 2010). Anyway, here's an eleventh for my list of ten songs.

Burial - "NYC" off Street Halo EP
It's heresy, I know, but I have to admit that I've always found Burial's music kind of boring (though I've loved the idea behind his music since I first heard of him). I understand why everyone went crazy over his first two albums--and Untrue definitely has some great songs, like "Archangel," "Endorphin," and "In McDonalds"--but it was all a bit same-y for my tastes. I have no such complaints with this EP, though, and "NYC" is far and away my favourite thing Burial has ever released. As The Quietus put it today in their discussion of the preview of his new track "Ashtray Wasp," "Burial gets better with each release by becoming more and more like Burial, not a statement it's possible to make about many modern artists." Here, that's more than enough--it's quintessential Burial. There's nothing that I can really put my finger on to say what sets it apart from his other songs: it hits that Burial mood with all of his familiar sounds, but rarely have desolate wraiths of forgotten joy been so seductive (especially in the quiet moments with just those voices and the vapours of his synths). The hitches in the beat that crop up every now and again are quite nice, too, providing a kind of propulsion-through-hesitation that amplifies the sense of this sonic world falling apart before your ears (reinforced by his omnipresent crackle and ghostly hums). 

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