With each new release, Burial seems to dive deeper and deeper into the world of field recording and experimental ambiance. His music has always dabbled with the enigmatic—dark soundscapes, vocal distortion, horror-movie style sound palettes—as does his mysterious faceless persona. Earlier today, he released two brand new songs that continue down the path deeper into his masterfully engineered ambient world.
The record starts with “Subtemple,” what could be the audio track for the crescendo of an avant-garde indie film. It is a movement rapt with suspense, inching along with little more than vinyl pops, mystery sounds, and a haunting voice jutting through the darkness like thin rays of guiding light. Tinny cranking echoes above the foundation like a bank thief bypassing a vault’s security measures. “Subtemple” is not as musical as “Hiders” and “Come Down To Us” off his 2013 Rival Dealers EP but draws many similarities to the mood and intention, stripped back from all semblance of musical structure with nothing but the foley left to enjoy.
The second half, “Beachfires,” takes it a step further into the proverbial Burial soundscape. With the fear of sounding too daft, it feels like “Beachfires” is the destination for which “Subtemple” sought. Here we find what we were initially searching for in “Subtemple,” a holy building where the sounds and voices of choirs past still echo through the abandoned rafters. Far more musical but seemingly just as unstructured, we find ourselves in the midst of a timeless vista wrought with the sounds and souls of the occult that comprise Burial’s entire existence.
These two movements work together in a dissonant harmony whose consonance is far deeper than what initially meets the ear. Young Death / Nightmarket, for example, was remarkably more upbeat and musical in comparison to Subtemple / Beachfire although neither sacrifice the wholly original cinematic sentiments of Burial’s signature sounds. Although “Beachfire” ends after nine minutes and fifty-five seconds, you quietly sit a while longer waiting for your mind to return from the place where Burial led you.