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Kindred Spirits: Burial The Urban Explorer
Rory Gibb , February 17th, 2012 10:06

Burial released his new EP, Kindred, though Hyperdub this week. In a piece that began as a simple review before spiraling out of control, Rory Gibb asks why he, out of all his contemporaries, has struck such a nerve with such a wide audience

"There is a crack in everything / That's how the light gets in"
-Leonard Cohen, 'Anthem'

When Burial's new EP Kindred was released digitally on Sunday night, the strength of public reaction slowed the Hyperdub website to a crawl, as people squeezed their way into the label's online shop to grab a copy. The first and most obvious question this response raises is 'Why Burial?' What is it about his music - a product of the underground, and pretty far removed from anything remotely pop-leaning - that strikes such a deep chord with such a wide range of people, where most of his contemporaries fail to do so?

Burial's treatment of the human voice, premiered in full on second album Untrue, has a lot to answer for. In London at the moment, it feels as though you can't travel more than a few metres without bumping into another producer using similar pitchshifted vocal inflections to far lesser effect (the law of diminishing returns ought to be a powerful deterrent, but somehow at this point the message just isn't getting across). And it's not as though he even invented the approach - as with so many producers working within the regions skirting UK garage and two-step, its roots lie in the deft cut & paste collages of Marc Kinchen and Todd Edwards in the 90s. So why, when Kindred's opening title track flickers to life and those tiny slivers of human life immediately start to bob and weave in and out of frame, do Burial's productions still elicit such a powerful emotional response, despite operating within such an ostensibly familiar idiom?

The answer lies, I think, in his deep-seated connection to the world immediately surrounding...

......The full version of this article is available in Point Close All Quotes: A Quietus Music Anthology. Buy it now in the Amazon Kindle store.

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