It’s becoming an early Christmas gift tradition from Burial. For the second year in a row, the mysterious UK electronic artist has released an EP filled with surprises and a short release date. Following the amazing Truant / Rough Sleeper EP of last year, we receive the new Rival Dealer EP, and I cannot tell you how different this one sounds. It comes to no surprise that Burial enjoys releasing longer tracks instead of the short, more traditional tracks he’s renown for off of the incredible 2007 album, Untrue. That album alone changed the electronic music scene for the good, and he continues to revolutionize the way we think about Dubstep, or ever subgenres in electronic music as a whole.
To jump right in it, Rival Dealer clocks in at 28 and a half minutes, which is a reasonable length for his releases. It contains three tracks, and the middle track is the shortest he’s released in years. The opener, “Rival Dealer”, begins with a typical ambient landscape surrounded by resonating high pitched vocals. What separates this release is the fact that it’s upbeat and creative. The entire EP is upbeat. Where is Burial? Is this Burial? Yes, to answer all the questions, it still is, and it’s energetic, but also emotional. The entire release covers a wide variety of subjective topics, but Burial adds the theme of individuality and anti-bullying to the mix. It’s quite impact, as not only do the dynamics between strategically placed synth chords and two-step beats create tension, but the in your face interviews get the point across.
Take the final two minutes of “Come Down To Us”. The song is based around the amazing progression foreshadowed by the magnificent “Hiders”, and it leads perfectly into an interview about transsexualism. A hot topic nonetheless, but a topic that can be cooled down by the idea of putting ourselves in other’s shows and respecting each other’s views. Now I don’t expect everyone to get along and understand each other, but Burial sends a message of respecting what others suffer, as we all have our baggage. To know that these songs carry this message, or at least transcend these sorts of thoughts is powerful.
Now the album still has that Burial vibe. Lots of atmosphere, lots of voice overs, and everything resembles London at 2 a.m. I imagine myself riding my road bike in the middle of a rainy night, weaving in between empty streets, ignoring the arrogant strip clubs and sleazy pubs trying to find a bus stop. I take my time, as my music is pretty good, and I’m not in a rush. It’s a sort of content moment that I have with myself, but I know I have to work the next day. Rival Dealer sends a different message. It’s uplifting and memorable. I’ll listen to it for ages, but also never feel tired of it (partially due to it’s short length). In typical fashion, these tracks are longer (2/3 are at least), but there are many different styles presented. They follow a set theme, create wonderful imagery at the same time. I’d make the claim it’s better than Untrue in many ways. It’s a chance taken, at the right time, and Burial isn’t afraid of back lash. This style hopefully with follow in the future, but as we know, you can never guess the future with Burial.