The beginning of the year is always a time for musical reflection for me. After spending the last three months heavily listening to new albums for consideration on my albums of the year list, its good to go back to some of my favorite works and clear the mind. Classics that remain just as great today as when they were created.
Untrue by Burial is one of those classic albums. On it, William Emmanuel Bevan takes iconic dance music genres and tackles them with such a clarity of vision that in the process he seems to create an entirely new sonic landscape.
Electronic and sampled drumbeats shuffle their way through his work; never locking to the grid of perfection, but with a natural organic swing of a real drummer. It’s this blend of the electronic and the human that make his music still so relevant. It could be the soundtrack for a robot A.I. starting to gain emotions, or a human loosing theirs to become more robotic and fit themselves into the algorithms that now seem to run what has become our external social media selves.
It is a sound that is now regularly imitated but never matched, partly because copies never have the same emotional weight as Burial achieves. On the albums final track “Raver” Burial takes some of the most iconic sounds of the 90’s dance floor, namely the string pad sounds found on so many of the classic dance anthems, and distorts them into a mirage of their former selves. “Raver” becomes a nostalgic view of a hedonistic time that the world has now become too serious to exhibit. With time, that nostalgia grows, and so does the power of this album. It’s a prophecy for things that are now coming to pass. “Untrue” is an essential listen for anyone.