Those who really love Katy Perry but cover it up because of hipsterish aspirations are going to love this. And even if you don’t, it’s hard not to fall for “Plummet” at 1:41 when, true to the song’s title, beat, synth and vocal fall together and coalesce into something subtle and stark, but with an pneumatic tension that springs from the scattered percussion. The track is the work of LA producer Quixotism, who has tied Perry’s vocal from “Wide Awake” into knots again and again until it has somehow taken on the keen menace of the ghostly sheen that surrounds it.
It’s far from an isolated work of genius, too, in fact, Quixotism’s entire soundcloud is home to a clutch of really promising tracks; take “If I Had You”, for example, which echoes the languid, reverb-steeped snare of Forest Swords with yawning vocals that may as well be something that Burial did, slowed down and recorded on a bleary 4am morning, just when you’re beginning to wonder whether you might be sober yet. Quixotism’s taste for hooks hasn’t been satisfied though, and this voice is joined by a saccharine female vocal that makes up the perfect contrast between light and dark, positive and manic depressant. Both tracks are complete barrels of contradictions, and all the more intriguing for it.
This new one from Burial and Four Tet just popped up out of nowhere, although, strangely, I’d been listening to the Four Tet album all night… Coincidence? I think not. Don’t tell me I don’t make things happen.
It’s a dangerous thing to expect things to be great simply based on past performances, but with Burial and Four Tet we always do, and we’re always proved right. “Nova” is predictably far and beyond any sort of normal talent – mixing all the heart of Four Tet and all the precision of Burial into five breathtaking minutes of next-level-ism. The only people who could surpass them is themselves, and they almost certainly will.
Pitchfork didn’t exactly criticise the collaboration between Breakage & Burial in their review back at the start of March, but a lukewarm score of 6 and a slightly more negative review concluded that “Vial” was “essentially a paint-by-the-numbers reworking of the style he so successfully concocted with Untrue”. Well, all that springs to mind is that I get the feeling that Burial isn’t going to be apologising to Pitchfork anytime soon for not reinventing music for them every 5 minutes. Pretentious twats. The thing is, there is no denying that “Vial” does bear similarities to “Untrue”, but beyond this the reviewer has entirely ignored the intricacies that separate the two and represent some form of progress.
Anyway, even this is beside the point; it’s hardly like he has returned with a track of chugging power chords and knuckle dragging boorishness. Perhaps the biggest mistake of the entire piece is an ignorance of the fact that this is essentially a Breakage track, with Burial only appearing as a contributor. Ultimately, progress is an additional extra; surplus to requirements, but appreciated, yet when you’re so close to the cutting edge of music as Burial is, it’s even less of a requirement, and the bottom line is that if something’s good, then just fucking say it is. Enough of the grating and probing dissertation-esq evaluation of to what exact degree each note is going to change the world. I couldn’t care less.
I might not feel the need to be exceptionally (and excessively) verbose about the whole situation like Pitchfork clearly does, but I should say that this track has completely taken over my musical world right now – with the result that I just can’t let myself listen to anything else. Crudely put, it strikes as a version of Burial’s “Archangel” that has had that sub bass subtly twisted up, with meandering glass tubes and chemistry paraphernalia spread over the top. Maybe that’s seriously why it’s called “Vial”. Maybe it’s seriously not. The end result is the same; one of the most astounding pieces of music I’ve heard this year, whether it adheres to Pitchfork’s concept of “progress” or not.
Breakage ft Burial – Vial