Musing over the male-dominated scene that is dance music, he implored that the ambiguity and presence of both female and male voices in his tunes formed a huge part of his sound. In conversation with the late Mark Fisher, (an interview that I can whole-heartedly claim formed part of my own desire to become a journalist) he said, “Girls love the dark tunes too”. And it’s true, we do. Be it underground or otherwise, finding that one individual who says all the things you want to say, who expresses all the emotions & lack thereof, is something many cite as changing the way they view both music, and the world around them. Burial came to me, (albeit much, much later than most) at a time when I needed him most.
It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to find that his music sits just right at times when life is at its bleakest. His impact only elevated upon moving to London, the cynical backdrop to his dissociative dystopia. You see, Burial’s music has an unrivalled capability to timelessly reflect a sense of place. In times of political strife and civil uncertainty, the tension, the unease and the discontent found buried within his discography is an apt reflection of our capital, even today.
At an intimate ‘History of Hyperdub’ party earlier this year, Kode9, AKA Steve Goodman, opened and closed his delectably nostalgic set with the atmospheric ‘Night Bus’. Now, as tears and cheers erupted from the crowd, it felt like everyone had their own love affair going on. ‘Night Bus’, by name is soothingly relatable, a soundtrack for the nights you find yourself alone and, well on a night bus, looking out onto a cold, deserted, yellow-lit street. It’s an urban phenomenon we’ve all faced following a night out, trekking across a sleeping city in a state of intoxicated contemplation.
So maybe that’s the beauty of Burial. Be it ‘Night Bus’, ‘Ghost Hardware’ or otherwise. The lights are on, the sun is up and the night is over. His tunes transcend the euphoria of the party and for those of us who find solace at the edge of the dancefloor, they open-up the cerebral constraints of club and encourage you to let go. He once said, “I like making tunes that maybe help people get lost in”, and you know what, that’s exactly what he does.
Jasmine Kent-Smith is Mixmag's Digital Intern. Follow her on Twitter