In Review: Burial - 'Chemz'
Hyperdub took us all by surprise two days ago with the drop of Burial’s new track ‘Chemz’ – his first solo release since ‘Claustro / State Forest’ last year. The ascendant dubstep label isn’t giving much away, but publicised ‘Chemz’ as the precursory first-half of ‘Chemz/Dolphinz’, which is set to come out in April.
Kode9 – Hyperdub’s founder – once described Burial’s music as ‘downcast euphoria’, and that’s exactly what we hear in Burial’s new 12-minute track. Burial’s music – revered by the likes of Jim Jupp and Mark Fisher for its ghostly delirium – has a distinct reflective depth to it, but also effects the listener on a somatic level, as dance music is supposed to.
There’s a strange sense of necromancy in Burial’s work and in ‘Chemz’ specifically: here, Burial acts as a sort of grim conjurer, magicking up the corpse of Rave and making it perform a funereal Danse Macabre across the living room floor. Hyperdub describes ‘Chemz’ as “rushed up”, and they’re right; by the end of the track everything is all energy flash, but Burial brings us to that point incrementally, which is part of what makes his music so intensely transportive.
All the latent ingredients we’ve come to associate with Burial are present in ‘Chemz’ (the ghostly vinyl crackle, the mutilated voices of angels and the cut-time groove are all there) except now it feels more profound. In the short description on the Bandcamp listing, Hyperdub details the release as both an “unhinged premonition” and “a demonic flashback”. This is obviously a contradiction, but it’s a contradiction that’s at the heart of Burial’s music, and helps make it so artistically pressing. Burial has a unique ability to, at the same time, beckon a future and mourn a deceased past. He is rave’s postmodern Pythia – blind, unhinged and full of truth. We’re excited for ‘Dolphinz’.
To listen to more Burial, click here.