Pitchfork’s glowing critique (8.7) by Andrew Ryce:

(be forewarned, ecstatic hyperbole and inflated raves galore)

Of the three, Kindred (12-minute symphony No. 1) will be the most recognizable to Burial die-hards, featuring that same clanking metal-on-metal garage skip-and-swing. But this time something just feels heavier, harder, more devastating. Burial’s been credited since the beginning as a prophet tying together UK genres old and new, but there’s never been a better argument than Kindred, which hints at the agility of jungle with the lead-footed heft of dubstep as seen through elliptical garage beats. They tumble and timestretch like vintage Metalheadz underneath smouldering Reese basslines, and the vocals lack Burial’s usual phrases, instead choking out syllables smothered by the aural ash and soot that seems to soak the recording in a humongous, unearthly rumbling. As a whole Kindred sounds bigger than anything he’s done before, an infinitely detailed behemoth that lumbers and shakes the ground beneath it with every little stroke of movement.

Kindred is basically a suite in itself, a new kind of tumult that only heightens Burial’s usual wrenching sorrow, an ambitious new venture repeated in Kindred‘s other two tracks. Loner outdoes the sad-sack ecstacy of Untrue‘s similarly housey Raver— for one thing, it’s a lot faster– but it’s coated in MDMA residue, its chugging kick-and-snare pattern and almost prog-house pumping chord progression drowning in gloss. That chemical energy lends its fatalism an almost heroic sense of momentum, moving and moving and never quite getting anywhere but into the same empty, desperate silence that swallowed Kindred. It’s a well-timed track, navigating the same obsession with house and techno that’s gripping the entire bass music world and turning it into something distinctly Burial, perverting house’s speedy metronome (and prog house’s politics of bliss) into profound, otherworldly sadness.

It’s hard to talk about Kindred— whether in the context of electronic dance music or just in the Burial discography itself– without resorting to superlative terms, because it really is just that impressive. It’s easy enough to take a talent such as Burial for granted, but Kindred is like a convenient slap in the face, a wake up call. Never before has his music possessed this much majesty, this much command, this much power: The pathos here has moved from sympathetic to completely domineering. The amount of dialog around Burial can be a little hard to swallow sometimes, especially when the guy himself seems so resistant– or at least indifferent– to the ongoing intellectualization of his music. But what we get on Kindred isn’t some loner unknowingly making genius out of samples from Metal Gear Solid on his Playstation. You might not think of refinement when you think of Burial’s productions, but just try to imagine it, and you’ll get an idea of the kind of glory that Kindred carries. It still might not be the follow-up to Untrue that everyone’s been waiting for, but format feels completely irrelevant. When those beats fall into place on the title track, nothing else matters for the next 30 minutes, until the crackle and fizz of Ashtray Wasps finally fades away. Then you put it on again. And again. And again.

PURCHASE


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