Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Burial // Four Tet // Thom Yorke – Ego // Mirrors – Text Records

It is hard to decide which artist here has generated more excitement; be it the reappearance of the mercurially brilliant Burial, the champion sounds of Four Tet or the return to the solo works of Thom Yorke? Since the release was announced on Tuesday morning, there has not been a build up like this since, well, King of Limbs?

The second that ‘that’ percussion drops in A-side Ego, it’s as if the last two years haven’t happened, and Burial has always been here. Since the last LP, Burial has been very quiet. One old track appeared on an El B compilation, but nothing concrete, nothing original, nothing to completely satisfy.

Original is one word that is synonymous with Burial and his collaborators Thom Yorke and Four Tet. Fresh from the recent release of the harshly treated mini-masterpiece ‘King Of Limbs’, Thom Yorke has seemingly decided to embrace his inner beat master. From playing at Low End Theory with the Brainfeeder crew to now releasing this EP, it is clear that Yorke knows how to enjoy himself.

Released through Four Tet’s label Text Records, it appears that Kieran Hebden has scored a major coup. This is in no way belittling the output that already exists on his label, but by releasing the works of Yorke and Bevan, he has guaranteed himself a sell out and a cult classic. His 2010 album ‘There is Love in You’ was one of my favourite LPs of last year, and he furthers his reputation by appearing alongside two of the most respected and critically acclaimed artists of the 21st century.

A-side Ego has some great moments, from the Jonny Greenwood-influenced horns in the opening salvo to the light keys that stroke and meander their way around the final exchanges. Yorke’s vocals are typically inaudible, needing repeat listens, or a lyric sheet, to decipher, but as with his solo and band work, his voice works as an instrument. The ability to create such an illusion is one that many singers struggle to ascertain, but one that Yorke has in abundance, particularly in his more recent works.

For a lover of Burial’s past work, the concluding couple of minutes are heavenly. To hear those pitch-screwed female vocals in a fresh light, to behold the manner in which he wraps the female’s voice through Yorke’s final words like ivy around bracken, it’s nothing short of miraculous.

On the flip there is Mirrors. This track has the percussion that made There is Love in You such a rewarding experience; ever moving, ever evolving. Yorke shows gives his vocal chords a work out and Burial gives the odd hint that he is still there, particularly in the breakdowns.

All in all, this EP will become a cult classic, especially in it’s 12” format. The three artists on show play off each other with different quality, the contrasting styles of Burial and Four Tet are an uneasy mix, deciding to work after each other as opposed to with each other, though Yorke’s vocals are more than enough to hold the whole thing together.

One thing that I fear may beset this EP is the same fate that has beseeched King Of Limbs since it’s release, that that the artist/s on show are capable of better, so it is not received well. However, when taken out of the context of the collaborators and their past works, this is possibly the best single of 2011 so far.

Burial / Thom Yorke / Fourtet - Ego by dgregory

Burial, Four Tet & Thom Yorke - Mirror by ListenBeforeYouBuy