British dubstep and electronic pioneer Burial gives us a new offering this week with is second ep of the year. Truant/Rough Sleeper is 24 minutes of dark, cloudy dreamscape bliss. More wandering and sporadic than his Kindred EP released in March, the two tracks serve as two sides to a coin. Appropriately filling two sides of a 12″ record, “Truant” and “Rough Sleeper” are each symphonic experimental offerings that pull and push the listener back and forth through a dark landscape. This will not disappoint any Burial fan in the slightest.
“Truant” feels like the sum of many individual, seemingly unrelated parts (a bit like human character, if you will). The nearly 12 minute track fades in and out with different voices, keys, and vibes taking precedent in different spots. Altogether, they intentionally do not fit together into one tight club jam - after all, you don’t really come to Burial with an expectation of repetition. Rather, “Truant” flows like a wordless short story. It’s confusing and bit abrupt, but there is no question that it is constructed exactly how it was imagined. In a language that only Burial can read completely, “Truant” is a biographical account of a character that most of us only see as a shadow. But the journey is mysterious and enticing nonetheless.
Flip the record and you get “Rough Sleeper” - a track in many ways that serves as the opposite to “Truant”. It, too, has a discontinuous ebb and flow throughout it’s 13 and a half minutes. But a similar theme continues to emanate through “Rough Sleeper” as the track builds and builds to a climax around the 9 minute mark. After that, this bright and vivid theme fades back into the darkness and shows itself only through an opaque surface. The title of the song serves as a bit of a guide. The track deals with contradicting forces of dark and light in texture and in timbre, kind of like a rainy night with the hope of dawn in the near future. Burial has an uncanny gift of anthropomorphism in his songwriting - his creations live and breathe, and without words they communicate so much. This is, without a doubt another worthy entry in his ongoing catalogue of wonders.
Those impressed with Kindred will love the evolution we see in Truant/Rough Sleeper. You can listen to both tracks on Hyperdub, where you can also buy them for cheaper than on iTunes. You can buy the 12″ vinyl here.