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Burial: A Quietus Pseuds Corner
The Quietus , February 15th, 2012 11:30

(with apologies to Private Eye)

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When Burial's Kindred EP was released digitally on Sunday, it whipped up something of an online storm, with reviewers (ourselves included) lining up to proclaim it one of his best works to date. More than most, there's something about Burial's music that seems to inspire ordinarily fairly grounded journalists and critics to start earnestly spouting metaphor, dodgy poetry and urban imagery. Again, we're as guilty as anyone here - click through to yesterday's piece on Burial the urban explorer to see why.

Inspired by all the talk of cityscapes, half-remembered rave dreams and 'ambient garage' in today's raft of online reviews of Kindred, we've gathered together a few choice quotes, which you can read below. We'll continue adding to this list as more reviews trickle out over the next few days.

Kindred, meanwhile, is very good indeed. You can buy it digitally over at the Hyperdub website. Its vinyl release has been delayed due to pressing issues.

"The half-formed voices and city sounds that echo across his recordings ask similar questions of their audience as a broken toy in an abandoned house might: who did these traces belong to? Who were they? Where are they now? And are these things left behind signifiers of happiness or sadness?" the Quietus

"The tinkling of glass jars being tapped, vocals crackling through earphones and the engine hum of a lonely road trip are just some of the visual pictures he paints here. The totality of his vision is one of a restless inner city. The city that never sleeps. Or indeed wakes from its insomniac fug." NME.

"This time it's overloaded with funereal synths and arpeggios that twirl frantically in anguish as if they had nowhere else to go, saturating the cloudy soundscape with particulate matter so intricate it's a wonder all this sound data can be contained in a single mp3, nevermind a groove in wax. The fluttering effects are only further confused by the bleary smudge of it all, cinematic and grand but stuck in Burial's world of canned frequencies: The locust-swarm effect of the filters is impossibly stirring, far more visceral than perfect clarity ever could have been." Pitchfork

"It’s a kind of clotted and autistic facsimile of dancefloor communion – not quite the elegiac mourning of rave that Burial’s supposedly known for, so much as a deeply alienated re-interpretation of it." FACT Magazine

"On the handful of singles and two classic albums he's released through Hyperdub, the formerly anonymous producer has placed that love of music in the context of deep loss: from HDB001 through to last year's seemingly out-of-nowhere Street Halo EP, a generation of heads heard that nameless rave—the archetype that's long been the itch in Burial's subconscious—drift ever onward toward its vanishing point." Resident Advisor

"At around four minutes and 15 seconds into the 11 minute and 26 second track, the movement ends with the crackling of a waiting turntable, or the crunching page of an old book, or a corrupted transition on celluloid. The page is turned; a theme found throughout the record." Artvoice

"It shows the artist as being, perhaps for the first time, hesitant, not of direction but approach. For the first time he fails to truly internalize the struggle that’s long been present in his music, the constant push and pull, the back and forth that’s been at the core of his dichotomy, the split identity of Bevan the day worker, and Bevan as Burial, the last man pushing the buttons to keep the moon in orbit." Sputnik Music

"There is a muscularness here that has been heretofore unseen, instead of feeling like a passive listener, traveling silently through urban streets, you feel like your feet are on the pavement, the danger around you, the clipped vocal samples are either the passers-by around you or the voices in your head." Mapped By What Surrounded Them

After reading, why not go and vote on the wankiest over at our Facebook? Please add any classic or archive Burial waffle you find lying about the internet below this piece:

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Feb 15, 2012 5:09pm

FACT wins!

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Dead & Buried
Feb 15, 2012 5:15pm

Where's Quietus' review?

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Rory Gibb
Feb 15, 2012 5:18pm

In reply to Dead & Buried:

First in the list.

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Feb 15, 2012 5:56pm

Dummy magazine referred to him as "basically our generation's DH Lawrence, but making garage music"

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Feb 15, 2012 7:18pm

I hate Pitchfork reviewers.

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Feb 16, 2012 3:42am

Burial's music makes me hate all music reviewers. Most of these reviews read like aborted mannerist essays submitted to minor provincial academic journals that no one has ever heard of nor will ever read.

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Feb 16, 2012 9:46am

An "autistic facsimile of dancefloor communion" - ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

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Feb 16, 2012 10:10am

What's the big deal with this guy?
Bet he can't believe his laptop-luck

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Feb 16, 2012 3:31pm

Sorry, Quietus - the wankiest review (by far) was yours. Nice try.

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Feb 16, 2012 4:30pm

I'm glad somebody raised the issue of wankery in these reviews. In many ways, Burial reviews (any) read as a needless defense of his sound -- too insistent, too precious by far. Never mind the gushing.

Then again, most reviews on electronic music sites are silly and trite. Many reviewers are stuck in the trap of naming and micro-defining beyond what is heard and immediately apparent, no doubt with hopes to be the first to "frame" the brilliance of the artists they are reviewing, with bonus points awarded for coining some new genre tag.

Sure, review writers have to work with words, but there are other, better ways. The reviewers quoted above remind me of those kids in high school that hang out in front of their lockers at lunch, spouting ill-formed poetry to anybody who will listen, sometimes even at the expense of a beating dealt out by impatient jocks. (Remember "that kid with the cape" who was snotty and pretentious beyond reason? Sure you do.) It's not the words, but the very activity of review-wankery itself that calls into question the good of the whole enterprise. It certainly has nothing to do with the music.

For this reason I stopped reading electronic music reviews a long time ago. And if I do read any reviews, I make sure it is well after I have had a chance to give an album/single a proper listen. On my own terms.

Let the kids in capes have their fun. But don't let their drivel color your enjoyment of the music.

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Feb 17, 2012 6:13am


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Feb 17, 2012 6:14am

it's already posted?

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Tim Russell
Feb 17, 2012 6:59am

"the last man pushing the buttons to keep the moon in orbit". Priceless. These reviews take me back to the glory days of mid-80s music journos trying to review the Cocteau Twins.

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Feb 19, 2012 10:45pm


good songs but whatever happened to straight forward language - its harder to wield than a fistful of hyperbole and a mouth of re-posted prose IMO.

its almost as if you were trained by the drongos at Boomkat.

10% of this is a review the rest is a race to the depths of unskilled wack internet music journalism


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Feb 19, 2012 11:31pm

Thank god it's not only me who's getting fed up with all the self-indulgent writing. It's almost as if no one taught them about purple prose in high school.

"It’s a kind of clotted and autistic facsimile of dancefloor communion." I agree with the other commenter; what the hell does this even mean? I feel like I'm gargling vomit when I try to say this sentence.

The only reviews that are remotely interesting are those done by the musicologists, but they're not even reviews as much as full-on essays that produce something worth the time to contemplate.

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Feb 20, 2012 6:29am

In reply to Michael:

These 'writers' are dickheads - through and through. I cant read this kind of shit any longer - unpaid interns with a thesaurus and working knowledge of dubstepforum / twitter are not a substitute for good straight forward reviewers or digestible essays that eschew hype - or at least attempt look around it.

The proliferation of banal internet music journalism is DOING MY HEAD IN AND IM GOING TO BOMB YOU ALL.

Worst Offenders:

1. Fact
2. 'xlr8'
3. Pitchfork
4. NME
5. RA

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Feb 20, 2012 6:33am

In reply to INCNIC:

oh and the 'quieterse' is only marginally better: so adjust those black glasses on your crooked white noses, fasten up that top faux tortoiseshell button, hoist those high waisted stonewash jeans up and please at least try a bit.

You have loads of readers and they look at your gash targetted advertising so do something worthy in return.

Cool Bro.

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Feb 20, 2012 10:33am

NME called Ashtrey Wasp the Bohemian Rhapsody of dubstep.
The best review of the ep was by Burial himself: he called it "scruffy" and "a glow in the darkness".

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A classic case of...
Feb 20, 2012 2:29pm

In general, The Quietus seems to be a frequent offender. A shame really, it often hides what might be good and insightful ideas...

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Feb 20, 2012 2:48pm

In reply to unimax:

unimax, did you really have poetry-spouting superheroes at your school? That sounds amazing!

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Feb 15, 2013 4:59pm

honestly a lot of electronic music reviews ive read on this site are a bit like that. theyre like auditions for the wire magazine (nto a dis - i like the wire). i know electronic music isnt always taken that seriously (by some) but theres no need to go to the other extreme.

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