Less than 24 hours since Liz Truss ended her disastrous six-week spell as Prime Minister, Burial releases a surprise record. Coincidence? I think not. The British bass musician’s EP Streetlands channels his cavernous and instantly recognisable sound across three haunting tracks that transport the listener to strange and distant places that evoke our current state of collective dread.
It’s been less than a year since Burial’s last Antidawn EP, the producer’s longest release since his seminal 2007 album Untrue. Last year, he issued the surprisingly upbeat Shock Power of Love, alongside his friend and collaborator Blackdown. With Streetlands, Burial returns to what he does best: pensive soundscapes that are so suggestively atmospheric, they could easily double as film scores. At just under 35 minutes, listening to the EP conjures the same feelings as walking through the streets on a dim midwinter morning as the sun struggles to push through the grey sky up above.
Untethered from any structured rhythm, the EP’s eight-minute opener “Hospital Chapel” drifts formlessly against the sounds of vinyl crackles and distant humming. Occasionally a garbled voice will break into the fore, before giving way to a droning synth sound, which only adds to the overwhelming feeling of disorientation. If this wasn’t already unsettling, the title track opens with a processed voice whispering, “there’s someone out there”. At nearly 15 minutes long, it floats across several textures and moods, some celestial, others murky and confined. “Exokind” is the most hyperkinetic track on the EP and features looped arpeggios that reach cinematic heights. Flicking between choral crescendos and eerie silence, the vibe suggests a pervading threat on the horizon. But with no fixed form or narration, the listener’s imagination is left to its own devices.
Elsewhere, Flying Lotus has scored the soundtrack for a segment in the newly released horror anthology. Music From The Hit Game Show Ozzy’s Dungeon features seven tracks that play with tropes from 80s and 90s children’s game shows. Sleater-Kinney celebrate the 25th anniversary of their third studio album Dig Me Out with the release of a covers album, featuring Wilco, St. Vincent, Courtney Barnett, the Linda Lindas and more. Chicago producer and Discwoman Ariel Zetina shares her hypnotic debut, Cyclorama.