Whether intentionally or not, certain artists seem to time the releases of their music perfectly with the current season and it can completely change the context of the record. Burial did this perfectly with his winter release of 2012’s Truant/Rough Sleeper, a beautiful, minimalist record that captured that claustrophobic atmosphere while reaching new limits in a genre that he helped pioneer. William Bevan decided to release Rival Dealer, his seventh official EP almost a year after that, but he has reached completely new heights with these three songs- and again provides a quintessential EP for this winter.
The title track immediately hits you right in the face like it’s 1997 again with the Prodigy-influenced snares, and then continues on with beautiful vocal samples weaved in and out of the track, a theme that runs through the entirety of the EP. Some of these are so heavily effected that they’re unintelligible, while other times they are brought to the forefront of the track- if you listen closely you can even hear him take a Gavin DeGraw sample and flip it to make it beautiful. The second half of the album plays out more atmospherically than the previous beat-heavy song, and culminates with “Come Down To Us,” which is instantly one of my favorite songs of the year. I can’t pick a favorite part out of the 13-minute running time whether it is the slowed down pop beats, the distant vocals that completely immerse you while listening with headphones, or the way it layers so much that when parts of it drop out at the halfway mark you can’t help but smile.
Burial seems to be diving into more experimental territory with every release, but with each one he finds more of his sound and only continues to grow as an artist, making a true follow-up to 2007’s Untrue all the more anticipated. Stream all three tracks from Rival Dealer below, and you can purchase it at Hyperdub.