Burial – ‘Temple Sleeper’ 12″ [Keysound Recordings]

I think I like this record. I mean, I’m listening to it a lot, so that must be right, right? The thing is, is that Burial (who was ‘unmasked’ as Will Bevan last year) has a stunning track record with tunes, even if it takes a while to find the right moment to become obsessed with them.

Burial is awesome. I don’t think there’s another artist in my collection who is better suited to the mantra ‘put in the time to listen.’ When it comes to Burial you’ve got to be listening to the tunes / albums in their entirety, you can’t skim across the grooves in the record store and expect to get much out of it. Shit is deep, and the more time you get it the more you notice the huge space around your listening, that although it feels emotive and natural is actually an artificial creation from Bevan.

That’s his style, and no one’s come close to touching it.

Following on from the LPs in 2006 and 2007, the Truant 12″ seemed to be the start of a new style of release from Burial. While there’s been no follow-up full-length, the plates that followed since have been more spread out, based around 10+ minute tracks, mini-albums of sorts. Bevan’s built upon the Burial foundation, once described ass music found on a dusty old record, to make separate parts of one musical landscape tie together in to one key track.

Releasing away from his home on Hyperdub for the first time as a solo artist, Temple Sleeper follows a similar format. The single sided, one-track 12″ on Keysound Recordings does have some distinct differences to previous recordings, which, have left us interested at best, and a touch confused at worst. And this is probably a reflection of the standard we hold Burial too, as it’s still an epic plate.

The production’s cleaner for starters. The massive enveloping spaces that exist around the breakbeat generally have been wiltered down. They’re still there, but feel less present and almost reused, and less naturally raw. In previous times, one of Burial’s releases have been accompanied with a note of ‘deliberate poor sound recording’ for the conclusion of the plate, so this cleaner sound is surprising.

It’s also the first time that the different parts of the total track have been so blatantly pushed together as opposed to mixed as soundscape. Generally, the journey is so logical that you don’t reach for references to different segments of the tracks until the fourth or fifth listen. It’s especially noticeable at the five minute mark, where a flipped up hardcore version of Nitzer Ebb (or FZ’s ‘Forbidden Zone’ if you prefer the ’91 rave version – out Jimmy Monsta Funk for the pick) drops in for the remaining minute and-a-half.

The fact that we notice these small changes shows the high-level we hold Burial too. And repeated listens, alongside the back catalogue are making me dig it even more. Although the beats are there, you’re unlikely to hear this in the club, one for the sound system at home or for riding through London.