Rory Gibb knocks another one out of the park. For me, Burial is the ultimate in ambient music, the perfect successor to the Aphex Twin album I mentioned yesterday. Burial’s work to date has that same feel. It is music that allows the mind to rove, out into the dark and down into some long still memory or forgotten path. It’s music you can take in at any level, from quiet background fuzz to pounding-loud headphones. It ascribes no set parameters for itself, allowing the listener total freedom to absorb the sounds their own pace and to interpret as they wish, simply becoming a part of their existence over time.
Burial’s work is unlimited. Where SAW ‘85-‘92 looks forward constantly, inhabiting the edge of our ideas of the future, Burial’s work has always lived within our conceptions of the past. Perhaps in that sense it is more modern than SAW, more contemporary. It is of our time, an age that feeds off the past more than ever before. Burial catches those deep memories of something thought forgotten, renders them in their unnatural street-light glow and asks you to walk down the streets and alleyways you used to know. It brings the dead to life, if you’ll let it. It is empathy for all that’s gone; the good ideas, the great nights, everything you want to remember and take with you into the future, to define that future. It’s just you and it’s everyone else too, living together alone.
Gibb started his article with a Leonard Cohen quote, I’ll finish with some Conrad because it is Heart Of Darkness that Burial’s work most reminds me of; the same impenetrable density of word, sound and imagery surrounds both. “We live as we dream, alone” says Marlow on the deck of the ship, somewhere on the Thames estuary, and an urban darkness is mirrored in the jungle, the great close space of bloodshed, hope and ignorance.