Burial – Truant / Rough Sleeper


Released: December 17, 2012

Label: Hyperdub

Producer:  William Bevan

Genre: 2-Step, UK Garage, Dubstep, Electronic


01 Truant
02 Rough Sleeper

From his first single in 2005, throughout 2007 and the release of his crittically aclaimed release Untrue, till the revelation of his identity in August 2008, William Bevan, aka Burial, maintained a mystic kind anonymity, and going on to invent the idea of a well branded producer hidden behind a persona, in the age of too much information; stating that “I’m a lowkey person and I just want to make some tunes”. After the release of the much influential Untrue in 2007, he remained silent for almost two years. What went through many people’s head, and a very vital question in general about electronic music, is this: When you create and own a sound completely, how do you continue to grow? Since his 2009 collaboration with Kieran Hedben aka Four Tet and all the following collaborative and solo 12″s he’s released; it seems that Burial has found a way of re-drawing the borders of one’s aesthetic. An thus surely expanding his familiar and distinct sound that is Burial. In his own words: “Raw, rolling drums and sub is the sound I love… and if you don’t get that then you won’t ever get it.”

He’s accomplished this, partly, by the way his album Untrue and 12″s are shaped, and the way he masterfully connects his tracks together as if one is embracing the other. If Untrue wasn’t an album it would feel like one single masterful song. And he’s continued this by releasing a series of 12”s and EPs that feel like miniature songs, which undoubtedly are his best work. “Truant” the A-side of this 12″, is nearly 12 minutes long, and is separated in various sections that when put together form a storyline. The track starts in a manner that is very familiar to Burial fans. A synthless drone opening that moves on to become a cluttering snare. Soon the “story” takes on a mournful synth, with a brief vocal sample that makes you cringe: “I fell in love with you”. Probably one of his most haunting tracks yet, but still, it’s the general idea of what Burial listeners would expect. Four minutes in though, the tempo and rhythm shifts completely, the vocals change, and the mood moves away from bleary contemplation towards sharp-edged anxiety. A kind of startle for the listener. When garbled orchestral samples enter in the final third, Burial is exploring completely new territory with fanfare-like music that feels almost celebratory. This is not his usual 3 a.m silent and dark streets of London sound, or the echoing of despair and the aftersound of a club. How he’s managed to be so deep, vibrant and grand, without sounding like anyone else is remarkable here.

The B-side, “Rough Sleeper”, covers just as much ground as the A-side. The tempo here is more upbeat and enthusiastic, with some hazy organ chords, and a both murky and pitch-shifted sample of Audra Mae‘s a capella version of Bob Dylan‘s “Forever Young”, found on the Sons of Anarchy soundtrack. The word “soulful” might be used here as this track take a melodic and gospel warm touch to it. Usually, when Burial samples a voice saying something like, “There’s a light surrounding you,” it sounds like a dying memory. Here, it sounds like an acknowledgement of the glory of the here-and-now. “Rough Sleeper”‘s emotional world is quite different from that of “Truant”; where the latter feels deep and wide, it oozes intimacy.

Truant / Rough Sleeper lacks the intensity of Kindred and leans more toward the original and familiar Burial sound, but its subtlety and the way its sound creeps up on you is its own reward. I used to be very disappointed by the fact that no follow-up of Untrue was announced since 2007, but if Burial keeps delivering the way he does in small portion like here and on Kindred, it hardly matters.


“Rough Sleeper”