Burial: Truant/Rough Sleeper

by thewheatandthechaff

We’re only a matter of  days into the New Year and yet, already, Burial’s new EP/12″ is surely destined to feature highly in many people’s year-end lists come December.

From the time of his first single in 2005 until he revealed his identity in August 2008, Burial maintained a carefully cultivated anonymity, arguably inventing the idea of the unknown but well-branded producer in the age of too much information. After the release of the landmark Untrue in 2007 – justifiably voted as the best LP of the decade in some circles– Burial went quiet for almost two years. There was a lot of talk then about where his music might go next, about whether there was anywhere left for it to go.

The steady series of collaborative and solo 12″s he’s released since are an inspiring example of how to re-draw the borders of one’s aesthetic. He’s still Burial, and he still owns this sound, but he’s slowly and surely expanding the idea of what Burial means. Bevan has accomplished this, in part, through his creative use of the 12″ format. If Untrue was an album that sometimes felt like a single masterful song, Burial’s best work since consists of long tracks that feel like miniature albums.

Truant/Rough Sleeper doesn’t have the intensity of last year’s masterful Kindred EP, and it leans closer to the classic Burial sound, but its subtlety is its own reward. Who knows if or when a full-length follow-up to Untrue will arrive, but as long as Bevan continues to release smaller missives of this quality, it hardly matters. Taken together, this 12″ and the Kindred EP are roughly the same length as Untrue; the form and content are in perfect sync.

The two videos below that accompany the songs Truant and Rough Sleeper are unofficial, amateur submissions, but I felt they delivered fitting visual touchpoints for Burial’s unique and utterly compelling sound.