Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

The Best Albums of 2012, Edition Two: Kindred

Kindred EP — Burial

You’d think that with just three tracks and the initialism “EP” in the title that this would be a short jaunt. Ah, but this is Burial, so it’s a good half-hour of music. The title track opener sets the tone, and it’s aptly named: Burial’s signature vocal samples over beats. It sounds like much of 2010’s Untrue, if the entire record were condensed into an eleven-minute concentrate.

As apt as “Kindred” is named, so bluntly is “Loner”. It’s probably the most club-oriented track by Mr. Bevan. Its tempo is brisk, with each first and third beats delivered in steady thumps. There’s a driving arpeggiated synth melody that flutters overtop, but don’t think it’s lost any of the cold, solemn feeling that you’d expect from a Burial track. It belongs in the nightclub confined to your head.

The album closer, “Ashtray Wasp”, is perhaps the best thing Burial has created. It echoes the synth stylings from “Loner” at the beginning, but using an almost-ephemeral flute, with a sampled vocal pleading “I want you”. As the track passes through desperation, it morphs into a darker, more visceral experience, becoming disturbingly sparse in the last four minutes or so of the 11:45 piece.

This is the soundtrack for two o’clock in the morning, when you’re awake and staring through your window at a streetlight illuminating nothing. It’s properly haunting.