After the surprise success of his self-titled, low-key debut on Hyperdub , Burial returns with an eagerly awaited follow up album, ‘Untrue’. The new record is weird soul music, hypersoul, lovingly processing spectral female voices into vaporised R&B and smudged 2step garage. Voices are blurred, smeared, pitched up, pitched down and pitch bent until their content becomes irrelevant and they whisper their saccharin sweet nothings into the void.

UNTRUE continues with the first album’s crackle drenched yearning and bustling syncopations haunted by the ghosts of rave, but also reveals some new Burial treats with a more glowing, upbeat energy. UNTRUE kicks off with the skittering 2step syncopations and vocal science of ‘Archangel’, ‘Near Dark’ and ‘Ghost Hardware’, before descending into a space of radiant divas and ambience. While Burial’s first album was humid, suffocating and unrelentingly sad, UNTRUE is less sunless. Many of the tracks are so sweet, they become toxic, underscored by the almost geological rumbles of growling basslines. Whereas the mood of Burial’s first album was overpoweringly melancholy, its now better described as a downcast euphoria typified by the epic, muted optimism of the album’s last track ‘Raver’. Forget central heating. The radioactivity of this album is all that you’ll need to keep you warm this winter.

Kode9 Interviews Burial

9: What have you been doing since the last album?

Burial: It was a bit weird people hearing the first record because most of those tunes were made without me expecting them ever to be heard. So I've been recovering.

9: How long did it take you to recover?

Burial: About 2 years [laughs]. I've just been trying to get back to why I wanted to make tunes in the first place. The first one got slightly out of where it belonged, and I found it a bit difficult to just block things out and make tunes in a low key way again, and it took time to just get back to doing that, and liking it, and doing it fast, and not trying to be a perfectionist. Just trying to dream up tunes again without worrying what people were going to think.

9: The tracks on the first album had taken about 6 years to make in total.

Burial: Yeah, that was tunes from 2000 hand picked by you out of loads. So doing the second one was never going to be as easy as that, and also I wanted to try and learn some new stuff but I couldn't, so I just gave up and went back to the old ways [laughs]

9: Were you surprised by the reception of the first album.

Burial: Yeah. I think it promised something, but if you listened to it, it didn't really get there. But I think some people liked it because it was just a no fuss bunch of tunes. I want to do low key records so i got uneasy if there was attention. my tunes aren't for everyone but thats the point of it, it's for those people. But I still want people to like it, Im not some ice cold fretless bass playing psychopath.

9: Don't you think, that whatever you felt about it, people liked it because it made a consistent album.

Burial: Why, 'cos it was all moody?

9: Not that it was moody or not, but just that the whole thing had a consistent mood.

Burial: Yeah, it was just a sad, eerie, night time thing. But the new stuff has changed a bit. No it hasn't. Don't listen to me [laughs]

9: What do you think is the main difference between the two albums?

Burial: This one is a bit more buzzin', glowy. It's a bit more uplifting. It doesn't hang around. It's a bit more up. The tunes were made quite fast in the middle of the night and they had to fight for their right to exist. but they came out of nowhere. Its a bit like an unwanted pregnancy, i wasn't always in a good place, but most of the tunes had to be faith restoring somehow to me, but they still take a while to get into.

9: Its still pretty melancholy record. But now I think its downcast euphoria, as opposed to just downcast like on the first one.

Burial: Yeah, the first one was quite a pissed off basic record, downcast. But this one has more little bits of vocals glowing in it, flickering around and burning in the tune, messed with.

9: Why did you end up doing something a bit more 'glowy'?

Burial: It's always been difficult for me to make tunes. i'd just sit or walk waiting for night to fall hoping i'd make something i liked. Or come back in and try to make the club echo in my head from going out. I'd chosen certain vocals because the mood I was in. I wanted more vocals cos they attempt to form songs, its kind of sad but they get to you in the end, i don't want a singer i want something else. Also all i listened to for a year was Black Secret Technology. I still made most of the tunes in the dead of the night, and when you do that you have to let the tune kind of hypnotize you otherwise you'll just fall asleep or play Playstation. The tunes just lulled me, and you need a vocal to do that, and a certain type of sound to echo and circle and sway into a pattern. The moodiness made the tunes, not me. Now when I listen to them, they're ramshackle, DIY and rolling but I know there is a thing trapped in them so that when I look back on them, even if its dry, I know when it was made, I know what was going on that day, its like stapling real life to the side of the tune. I can't get a singer or some session musician to come in and play or sing some dry song, so I've got to get people singing acapellas or just mates singing in their phones and re-cut up what they're saying. Sometimes I run out of a vocal and I have to re-cut up each word and make them sing a whole new verse, and you cant tell what they're saying. But I feel I can make them say certain lyrics.

9: the puppet master ha ha

Burial: I love the sound of 'girl next door' vocals. The way it used to be. Give me that any day over a really talented trained person that can actually sing. There used to be a girl who used to sing in the flat next door but I didn't have the guts to ask her. That would have been kind of awkward to ask.

9: Why don't you do gigs?

Burial: I'm not that kind of person who can step up. I just want to make tunes.

9: Why don't you want to do pictures?

Burial: Same reason. I like the old records, where you didn't know who made them and it didn't matter. You got into the tunes more. I don't want anyone knowing i do tunes.

9: And the drawing on the front of the new album.

Burial: I've been drawing that same one since I was little. Just some moody kid with a cup of tea sitting at the 24 hour stand in the rain in the middle of the night when you are coming back from somewhere.

9: Why didn't you use a sequencer on the album?

Burial: I tried. I did one tune before. . .Unite. With someone showing me how to use it, and it worked out nice, but in the end I wasn't ready and I wanted to do another record without a sequencer again.

9: You like that ramshackle thing, don't you.

Burial: Yeah, I admire people who understand complicated programs or whatever. But I'm not that into tunes that are so sequenced that all you can hear is the perfect grid, e ven on the echoes. With those kind of tunes, sometimes I just hear Tetris music, i always know where i am in the tune so i cant get lost in it, no rough edges in some tunes even when they try hard to sound rough. I want to learn one day how to make tunes properly , but I wanted to do a tribute to my rubbish, dying computer. It starts smoking sometimes and the screen flickers like a strobelight, it mashes your eyes. The tunes are made where they're made, somewhere in my building, the roof or wherever, but not in some airtight studio. Loads of the album was made with the TV on. I wish i could make technical proper music one day but people who want technical music maybe won't like my new tunes but its not for them.

9: What don't you like just now?

Burial: fiending and fakery. Sometimes you get people who don't seem to really enjoy tunes theyre just checking what other people are into and ripping it or slating it . just because..no reason. some people just talk mostly about things they hate like it matters, like they are fighting through a crowd that isn't there. i liked the world before it was so easy for people to find out stuff and get at it. i like it when people are genuine, they like tunes, they want a dance.. i don't get it when people are ploughing in with negative claimage to something. Sometimes you just want music to stay where it is from. I love drum&bass jungle hardcore, garage, dubstep and always will till i die and i don't want the music i love to be a global samplepack music.. I like Underground tunes that are true and mongrel and you see people trying to break that down, alter its nature. Underground music should have its back turned, it needs to be gone, untrackable, unreadable, just a distant light.

9: There are more vocals on this album.

Burial: When I was growing up it was hardcore or jungle tunes and you would catch people singing them while doing the washing up. Like 'Music is the key' 'Thru the vibe' 'inner city life', 'finley's rainbow' guy called gerald, kemet crew. People would be playing them from cars. But deeper tunes too not just big tunes . They tried to put a vibe into the room. They didn't just walk in and stamp on your head. Or they worked hard to take you out of where you were, make you get lost, steal away. They weren't just serving up an element that you could instantly get into. They would put an atmosphere in the room that wasn't there before, or maybe had never been there, not take the atmosphere out the room. Vocals . . .it needs to be glowing, swaying, but I want the tunes to be likeable. Not dark for the sake of it.

9: Why is the album called Untrue?

Burial: When you are not acting like yourself . . .that's an everyday thing for everyone, but it can be a bit sinister . . .It's like the opposite of Unite.

HDBCD002 [Out November 2007]
01 Untitled (0:45)
02 Archangel (3:59)
03 Near Dark (3:53)
04 Ghost Hardware (4:54)
05 Endorphin (2:57)
06 Etched Headplate (6:00)
07 In Mcdonalds (2:09)
08 Untrue (6:16)
09 Shell Of Light (4:41)
10 Dog Shelter (2:58)
11 Homeless (5:26)
12 UK (1:42)
13 Raver (4:58)

HDBLP002 [Out November 2007]
A.1 - Archangel
A.2 - Near dark
B.1 - Homeless
B.2 - Shell of Light
C.1 - Raver
C.2 - Etched Headplate
D.1 - Untrue
D.2 - Uk
D.3 - Endorphin

Watch out for "Stairwell"/"Feral Witchchild" on Hyperdub in February 2008.

Other Burial interviews:
Fact Magazine