Burial creates an addicting ambiance of dark and moody tunes in his 2006 self titled release, ‘Burial’.
The sounds of 2-step, jungle, and UK garage take on the UK rave music that he grew up listening to when he was younger.
Hailing from South London, William Emmanuel Bevan (also known by his alias Burial) is a British electronic musician who has left a prominent mark on the UK Electronic Music Scene.
Burial is the debut studio album named the album of the year by The Wire.
With inspiration flowing through his veins to pursue music, “Special Mission” by producer Digital (from the first Metalheadz box set released in 1997) helped him realise he didn’t have to be a musician to start making music.
After taking on the sound of Drum & Bass and Jungle as a young teen, he began his journey to self publish his own original music.
The production of Burial started in 2001 using the digital audio editor Sound Forge.
Burial acknowledges avoiding the use of trackers and sequencers to create this album.
He describes the process himself in an interview on the music blog ‘blackdownsoundboy’:
“Once I change something, I can never un-change it. I can only see the waves. So I know when I’m happy with my drums because they look like a nice fishbone. When they look just skeletal as fuck in front of me, and so I know they’ll sound good.” – Burial March 21st, 2006
It’s certainly a different approach to creating music that many of us that have developed our style using a DAW find hard to imagine.
As a result his work maintains a characteristic and likeable style that doesn’t fit to the conventional beat structure electronic music usually has.
In this sense it adopts a more imperfect and live ‘human’ feel.
Not using a sequencer also helped him realise that if his drums were timed too perfectly, they would lose its distinctive uniqueness and “sound rubbish”.
Burial’s desire to provide a sense of sadness throughout the album reflects the sounds he grew up listening to on older records.
They each inspired a notion of going with what feels right.
“It’s basically a Source Direct thing: it’s pure darkness but all the elements circle. You hear something and you know at another point in the tune it’s going to circle back around” he explains.
Highlights from the album include “Forgive,” “Night Bus,” “Gutted” and “Pirates” a variety of sounds with the ability to make listeners drift through a sensation of falling asleep yet staying awake all night long.
“Gutted” is a mind blowing example of atmospheric sound design using complex and detailed texture layering and wooden off-beat drum fills, while “Pirates” dives into a deeper exploration of tech and dub fusion.
“Forgive” is heartbreakingly beautiful.
The single clearly feels the ache of a heartbreak at the deepest level, while following the album’s entire theme of feeling every feeling possible without any interjections or opinions.
“Night Bus” perfectly captures the almost supernatural atmosphere of a late night ride on Londons public transport.
Burial takes this setting and cleverly sprinkles in feelings of hope and positivity below heavy overtones of writhing sadness.
Burial’s debut album manages to masterfully capture the spirit of the UK’s rave subculture, whilst bringing with it a refreshing new sound at the time that stands as an important milestone in the development of the Future Garage genre.
Eclectic, shuffling drums litter his work which continue to serve as his unique signature.
Opening up an album and ending it with the same track named “Untitled” opens up the canvas for the listener to mould the album into whatever they want to make it.
As you feel a flurry of emotions from start to finish, Burial is there to help you keep going.
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