Review

Burial

Streetlands EP

Hyperdub • 2023

Hyperdub boss Kode-9 only has to post the Burial logo on his social media channels to generate lots of buzz. This continues to be justified, because, after all, Emmanuel Bevan wrote himself irretrievably into electronic music history with his self-titled début, but especially with »Untrue«. But the music is only one side of the coin; the Burial phenomenon burgeoned far beyond his own artistic output, not least thanks to cat-and-mouse games with the press and years of concealing his identity. As with »Antidawn« from January 2022, the question arises as to whether the »Streetlands EP« would receive the same attention minus the prestigious cross. The answer: surely not, but that doesn’t make the three tracks any worse. The grimy, grungy beats that soundtracked the great rave hangover in the 2000s are to be found in vain. In their place, on the close to 15-minute title track, Burial adds a sincerely beautiful, cinematic note to his enduring melancholy, with the time-honoured high-pitched vocals in helium spheres still proving immensely effective. Whereas »Antidawn« sounded in part like a collage, as if Bevan had unwittingly recorded a voice message with his mobile phone, on »Streetlands« he brings a coherent arc of tension, light and dark, traces of horror and the essential, indispensable portion of hauntology into harmony. Even the panpipes at the beginning of »Exokind« make sense, feasting like hyenas on the remnants of hardcore continuum and rave, sounding better than the soundtrack to any modern-day series that dabbles in the sci-fi heritage of the eighties.