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
To some, Burial & Four Tet’s new collaboration may seem too simple, but this careful understatement is ostensibly used to allow the track and all of its subtleties to creep into your subconscious. As a result, it is slowly becoming one of the years most meticulously and beautifully crafted masterpieces. Simply put, it would have been very easy to “stick a donk on it” and churn out banger-ish rubbish, but “Moth” is far more intelligently put together.
This is an opus that We Plants Are Happy Plants sticks faithfully to with “Apollo”, a flagrantly brilliant electronic song that was one of the most popular on hypem.com last month thanks to Binary.
Burial & Four Tet – Moth