Customer Reviews: Burial
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on January 5, 2007
Dubstep is although a relatively recent music genre, it's a successful splicing of the rhythmic arrangements and some of the instrumentation, normally associated with 2-Step/Garage, with the bass and reverberation of Dub reggae. And what initially seems like an unusual/oddly confusing pairing of genres, works remarkably like a mash-up of dancefloor friendly, bass-heavy 2-step. But there is a new lineage of producers willing to experiment with the boundaries of the genre...taking other elements of genres, and slowly filtering them into the Dubstep genre. Enter low-key producer "Burial" with a altogether more sinister approach to the genre. His masterstroke is to take the sound out of the clubs, and shift the focus towards something far more suited towards an intimate home-listening experience, slow the beats down and give them an eerie, disembodied paranoid edge, and take the mood & atmosphere of Electronica and imbue them against melancholy keyboards, throbbing acid lines, and fragmented beats, and arrange them into hugely atmospheric slow-moving almost filmic sci-fi productions, that make up the albums tracks.

It's a largely gloomy and ghostly sound, one that expresses a mournful sonic sentiment, via the use of spacious, sparse productions with little touches like static and echo effects, that recall night-time cityscape aerial-views of the capital at night. Sounds and moods are build around samples, shifting awkwardly around each other. "Gutted" shapes an impressively claustrophobic track, which would be ideal, for driving a car through the city after dark, around what sounds like a sample of a gun (pistol) being reloaded. "Prayer" uses a more spooky and decidedly haunted echo derived sound to get it's point across admirably, by not only showing considerable skill as a producer, but the insight to argument moody & sonic texture beautifully. 'Distant Lights' mixes incredibly sparse programmed beats, into a stretching metallic-organic hybrid soundscapes, by coupling a shimmering vocal against a bass-reverberating rumble, and like pretty much all the tracks here, it's construction is in theory...fairly simplistic, but it more than compensates by any technical limitations offered by the producer, by being hugely atmospheric and tremendously evocative.

Some people are calling this their "underground Album of the year" (2006), and although I've heard far too much in 2006, to award any one particular album that accolade. I will agree that this is a truly remarkable album, one that is a reasonably innovative so far, as truly pushes the genre forward, it's spare/stark/claustrophobic/melancholic mood and tone, is completely at odds with the more dance-oriented sounds of Dubstep. It's an album that sounds truly at it best, under the cover of night....using it's more sinister manipulation of moods, in a way that develops into a truly brilliant album of such cold inspiration and druggy emotion, ethereal atmospherics, submerged soundscapes, and a shimmering tension to the music, that so incredibly well realised, that how he'll follow this up, is anyone's guess. Another reviewer mentioned that a rough description of this album, would be something akin to an Instrumental version of "Massive Attacks - Blue Lines" (or "Tricky's" Work), and that a fairly good comparison. If you could imagine an instrumental version of `Blue Lines' (or more closely, Tricky's Albums) with the tension turned way up, the string sections removed, and the rhythmic arrangements stripped down to their barest elements. And the Dub side made harsher, and replacing the soulful beating heart of Blue Lines, with something far Colder in sound, it could reasonably be considered that is what to expect. But irrespective of that, this is one of the most startling albums I've heard last year, and easily deserving of inclusion on all of the critics end of year `Best of' lists.
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on April 16, 2007
It was very refreshing to hear this CD. I listen to a lot of new music, but most of the stuff leaves my player after a couple of listens.

This however is one of those things that will remain memorable...similar to those early 90's massive attack albums. The music is obviously electronic, but somehow it manages to have this deep, organic sound. The rhythms are somewhat complex, unexpected. I don't think it will work extremely well as club dance music, but this doesn't really matter to me.

I am not sure how someone would give it 1 star. Obviously this is not for everyone - it is hard to imagine my dad digging it (he likes sinatra and stan getz)...but if one likes creative electronic music, there is no way one will be dissappointed.

And if you do like this, there are a few other good artists to explore, e.g Kode 9, Boxcutter and the likes
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on September 24, 2006
If drum 'n bass, or electronic music in general, needed an inspiration, Burial is it. In my opinion, his self-titled debut is probably the best album I've run across in 2006 so far - and that means everything else Pitchfork has recommended this year. While Skream and others are the stars of this relatively new genre called dubstep, Burial truely has taken it somewhere else - somewhere deeper and more sophisticated than any of the "huge" hits of the scene. For a better picture of what I'm getting at, think a mostly-instrumental version of Massive Attack and Tricky with a little tricky two-step and some sounds reminiscent of late-90s techstep. Check out the songs "Distant Lights," "Southern Comfort," and the clever gun-cock sample used throughout "Gutted."
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on September 5, 2011
I enjoy diverse genres of music, and am not at all able to tease apart the many genres, so trust other reviewers who identify where this fits in. I am writing this review in 2011, only having just recently discovered Burial from a post on Google Plus. I am someone who is always in search for new music because, well, I like the new stimulation (must be a dopamine effect somehow deep in the brain). Anyway...

When I received this CD and first played it, it went into my "ech" pile. But I played it again, and again, and each time it grew on me and in but a few weeks it has become a favorite that I am so glad I purchased.

If you are open-minded and appreciate the nearby genres but want something fresh and distinct, then do go ahead and purchase this. And to the reviewer who gave it 1 star, while that is their prerogative, I would urge them to allow the album the opportunity of more than one playing.
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on May 13, 2008
Just when I think it will never happen again, it hits me like a ton of skunky bricks! A new kind of music. It was our Chicago dubstep militia at Sonotheque; the experience was presaged by some serious bass at the last couple Burning Man shindigs.

A dubstep event has a frightful, psyched-out, root chakra vibe. Yes, it is official, somebody discovered the most subliminal, tripped out sound to ever reach Earth. I would go so far as to say that dubstep is the most significant sound to come out of the underground since the invention of what is currently understood as "electronic music".

At first, all the hype made me think that Burial might be the version for those people who, in the 90s, listened to Roni Size CDs in their apartments while the hardcore massive raved it up Renegade Hardware style. But that's not accurate.

Last weekend my girlfriend and I sat at a stoplight on Division. For the first time, we noticed a rusty bike chained up by the concrete wall of the underpass. It was adorned with fake flowers and a name and the words "She heard everyday sounds in music."

That shrine was a sad, otherworldly thing. We listened to "Distant Lights", and I think that I finally figured it out (thank God for fragile hungover states).

For me the only place where such decayed, apocalyptic beauty is in abundance is when you are wandering the Burning Man playa at 3am, haunted by time travelers from the future (or are they spirits of those who will die in some irradiated, barren desert of tomorrow?). And also in archaic dream tunnels lit by dirty fluorescent lights, unambiguous archways to the Underworld. The Unconscious and the dead share a language, and speak in poignant symbols.

Now leave your apartment and hear some alien BASS at a club with a massive system!
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on January 11, 2007
Burial is a master at his sound. Dark, minimal and beautiful all at the same time. This release was unexpected and a wonderful surprise for 2006. If you are in to dubstep, you probably already know this artist, if you like electronic music, buy this CD.
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on May 14, 2015
Many reviews are from 2007, when this album was released. This is not a fault in those reviews. athis album has stood the test of time. it was as (un)comfortable in the fringe-music landscape now as it was then.

The beats clatter and sing: the bass weighs heavily but not obtrusively, warm, enveloping and supportive; the vocal samples are sublime; the songs themselves are confident, mature.

This album is a masterpiece. Dubstep? Whatever.This album is dark, emotional, vital, enigmatic, unique. It sounds great loud, and sounds great in headphones.

Required listening.
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on November 18, 2007
This is the synthethis of electronic music so far. Ok i'm not a dj, i don't make my own tunes but i've listened to enough electronic music to know my way around it. It's the musical version of Caravaggio's Medusa, with computer cables instead of snakes.

It leads you to the dark corners, in a far more honest way than anybody i've ever heard.

This and his following albums are haunted records... full of souls suffering for their condition of being half-way between life and death.

Thanks man!
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on September 15, 2008
Playing this cd, i see a small human, not so deep under ground, but in a distant place carving into his self made cathedral out of greyish marble where the interior does not reflect the shiny source of light that appears in there.
Not one has ever noticed this place nor him until he said "could it be..."

Adding this cd, my whole collection lit up.

Graaf Dieper.
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on September 6, 2010
Burial's first, self-titled release introduces an instantly likeable brand of dubstep. It's easy to see why it popped up in so many Best of 2006 lists: this is an expertly crafted synthesis of erratically programmed beats, anguished vocal samples and distant synths. At times, the music comes across as through a mist -- the closest comparison I could think of is Magnetophone's first 4AD album -- and the element of violence here is always implied instead of outright, which makes for a remarkable feeling of tension.

There aren't any real moments on this album that I consider disappointing. It's a nice, smooth flow. However, what stops me from giving this a full five stars is that this album essentially reveals all its secrets at one go -- there's no much under the surface here, little new to discover on repeated listens. Nonetheless, for purely setting an atmosphere when you're not in the mood for more tranquil chillout, Burial's music can really hit the spot.
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