Despite his insistence on relative personal anonymity, William Bevan's work as Burial asserts itself. Listening back to his 2006 self-titled album and 2007's Untrue, there is a strong sense that the music is coming from somewhere. The influence of U.K. pirate radio runs deep in Burial's work: These are furtive nighttime transmissions, sent in from the outskirts of loneliness, bounced along the streets of South London into bedrooms and back rooms. A good Burial track feels both heard and overheard; it strikes the heart yet remains at a distance.
Burial's rise in profile has corresponded with a more open sound and legible thematic scope. 2014's Rival Dealer EP, a self-described "anti-bullying" record, blasted his introspective aesthetic widescreen. "Come Down To Me," a solidarity statement of sorts, featured a substantial portion of Lana Wachowski's acceptance speech for the Human Rights Campaign's Visibility Award. The release was a turning outward for an artist who has, paradoxically, made his name on inwardness, both in his music and in his stance toward critical acclaim.
The most recent Burial single, "Young Death," continues this narrative; it's a shimmering piece of synth-pop that promises "I will always be there for you." However, it's on the B-side, "Nightmarket," that Burial quietly moves toward something new. With a series of isolated synth leads, the track pivots across its seven minutes, building only to recede, refusing at every point to emphasize the soaring quality of its elements. It's something akin to Lorenzo Senni's discombobulated take on trance, but splashed with vinyl crackle like rain on a window. It's a lonely track that gestures to the communal, but as heard from outside — an acousmatic field recording; a synthetic walk along a neon-lit back street; music seeping out from clubs, late night cafés and arcades.
Young Death / Nightmarket is out now on Hyperdub.