Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ambient Sundays: Burial, 'Ghost Hardware'

Although Burial is strictly classified as a dubstep artist, his dark heart occasionally slips into the ambient genre. Adding a mixture of atypical pop music samples and video game soundtracks to his own atmospherics and beats, he has written the first great ode to London of the 21st Century. Prior to a few months ago Burial was just another anonymous bedroom producer gaining notoriety within dubstep circles before his most recent album started to open new avenues, leading to the obligatory tabloid hunt for the man behind the music and lazy comparisons with the similarly mysterious artist Banksy.

Now, for what its’s worth we know that Burial is in fact William Bevan who produces music on his computer using Soundforge. Putting that into some perspective, creating an album of this calibre with Soundforge is the equivalent of Radiohead making Kid A with a cassette recorder and a banjo.

‘Ghost Hardware’ drags us down to the London underground, subsonic bass seems to suggest a passing train on a distant platform Every inch of the track feels like it’s in imminent danger of being consumed by the darkness, but this is not the hustle of rush-hour, this is the loneliness of the big city. A sample of Christina Aguilera’s ‘Beautiful’ is twisted out of shape into some obscure Arabic instrument, coming and going like a half-heard melody spilling out of the earphones of a passer-by, while the trains continue to growl in an uneasy manner. Bevan shunned the limelight again at the recent Mercury Prize awards, "I'm a lowkey person and I just want to make some tunes, nothing else", whatever it takes to make a haunting vision like this.

Where to find: Untrue (2007)

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