Burial Antidawn Hyperdub
The dawn represents new beginnings. The welcome arrival of light following an evening of darkness, or an opportunity to grow from one day to the next. On his new EP, Antidawn, London producer Burial homes in on those mystical moments before dawn. Clarity has yet to be fully restored – but we’re close.
Across much of his catalogue, Burial’s drumwork has functioned as a guide. Antidawn, however, is a loosely-stitched patchwork of hums, crackles and clicks, plus organic sounds such as the clearing of a throat on opener Strange Neighbourhood. Taken as a whole, it’s the aural equivalent of a walk through unfamiliar terrain following a storm, the air still close, petrichor emanating from the ground and your senses enlivened. This journey will manifest differently depending on listeners’ imaginations, and perhaps their interest in video games. (Hideo Kojima’s 2019 title Death Stranding immediately springs to mind.) There’s hope, somewhere, in these songs. Yearning, pitch-shifted voices float through Antidawn like the wind, breathing life into vast passages of palpable near-silence and fragmented sound design. They whisper admissions like “I’m in a bad place” on the title track, or “let me hold you for a while” on project highlight Shadow Paradise – the warmest of the tunes.
Antidawn is an impressive record that demands patience from its listeners. Given that it’s Burial’s most robust release since 2007’s Untrue, some fans may look upon Antidawn unfavourably when comparing the two – but that doesn’t make it bad. It just means it’s different, with Burial hyper-focused on his ambient inclinations. The EP’s antithetical title may be a ruse: much like the dawn, this record signifies evolution in the most natural of ways – in the most Burial of ways.