I first started listening to Burial about a year ago. I was mainly interested in this album due to the dubstep tag and the story of how dubstep has slowly been "ruined" by artists like Skrillex, who turned the genre into something it was never meant to be. I've always found this history very interesting, and quite frankly, a bit sad. I wanted to support what relics of original dubstep had been left, which led me straight to Burial, one of the most well-known artists in that scene.
I listened... and... I thought it was okay. Nothing near the masterpiece others had considered it, but I didn't think it was bad. The off-beat vocals, strange melodies, and other odd production choices were a bit too "weird" for me at the time. I had barely begun to scratch the surface of electronic music at that point.
I listened to it every once and a while, but never felt very connected with it.
That was until a few months ago. I think one of the best moments for an album to click is when you aren't purposefully trying to make it do so.
I was in bed, tired after a long day, looking through Spotify to choose some simple album to rest my eyes to. I scrolled past "Untrue" by Burial, but made a double-take. It had been a while since had I listened, maybe I should give it a shot? The grey and sad atmosphere of the cover seemed to be calling out to me in that moment.
I tapped on the first track, closed my eyes, and laid down.
I was quickly transported to what felt like an alternate reality inside the beautiful and gloomy universe this album creates. At the time, I was dealing with a lot, and this album really broke me.
I cried on my second listening, eventually fell asleep, and woke up continuing to listen to the album.
At that moment, this was one of the best things I'd ever heard. I've heard a pretty good amount of acclaimed electronic albums in my time, ranging from Aphex Twin to Kraftwerk, Boards Of Canada to Underworld, Daftpunk to Sweet Trip, etc. I would say this is likely the most atmospheric and immersive electronic album I've ever heard (excluding more non-traditional works, such as EAI).
I've now given this album a lot of time to settle within myself, and what I have been left with is an incredibly well polished, consistent, and memorable electronic record that represents a specific era in time (and even a specific place). This album absolutely screams "United Kingdom" which should be obvious given its origin... and the fact that there is literally a song called UK. However, there is much more below the surface here. Whenever I listen to this album, it takes me to an incredibly gloomy and grey cityscape, dark alleyways, or a café while it's pouring outside. Either way, you can't get around it, this album is incredibly dark. The textures give off a very empty and dry feeling, which is balanced by the warm and reverberating vocal samples.
Each song is very important to the overall story and structure of the album, including each ambient interlude, which provide breaks between longer tracks. Every sample is used incredibly tastefully, and nothing feels out of place (though it may at first). Although I can definitely pick out favorites in the album, each song is incredible and feels necessary for a full listen. If you are interested though, you will be able to see my individual track ratings below, which will allow you to see my favorite songs. Every beat feels alive and addictive, each song with a very rewarding structure. I always feel complete after I've listened to this whole album.
All in all, I'm very grateful this album clicked with me so hard. I've been listening to it on repeat ever since, and it keeps feeling even more addicting. It represents an atmosphere I can't find in anything else, with unique textures and styles, all put into a very complete unit.
Alright. Now it is time to get more personal and talk about this milestone.
The first thing I want to say is... THANK YOU.
Thank you all so much for supporting me throughout the past year and a half. I remember starting on this website, not knowing anyone, writing simple 1-2 sentence reviews, and getting 0 likes. I would look up to some of the biggest users and doubt I would ever be able to get to their position. You should take this as a sign...
no matter who you are: if you are just starting out like I was all that time ago, or if you are a more refined reviewer who is beginning their rise, you have a real chance to do something big. If you really enjoy it, don't quit, keep pushing yourself, and results will eventually follow.
Why did I choose to review this album for such a milestone? Well, there are a few reasons, some more obvious than others:
-This is one of my favorite albums of all-time, especially in the realm of electronic records.
-This album means a lot to me and helped me get through some rougher times in my life.
-This album has inspired and creatively fueled me in some of my own musical endeavors.
-I've been meaning to write a review for this album for a while now anyway.
I want to take a moment out of respect for the recent loss of a vital member of the AOTY community: Zach (@zachthesnack).
He provided the website with over 14,000 ratings, nearly 1,000 reviews, over 200 lists, and more. He was looked up to and respected, and his loss will remain a permanent scar on this website. I personally remember using many of his lists to help discover new albums.
Rest in peace. I hope the other side treats you as well as possible, and I hope you are never forgotten.
There are a few users/friends I'd like to thank in this process, that have either helped me get to this point or provided a figure for me to look up to.
First I'd like to say congratulations to DoubleZ (@doublez) on 1,900 and nearing very close to 2,000 followers. You deserve it more than I can explain, your reviews have always been something to look up to and your consistency is extremely commendable.
I'd like to say congratulations to Chode (@chode), for also getting pretty close to 2,000. Your reviews are extremely impressive, your takes are great, and I'd say you are definitely a very important user of the website.
A huge thank you to some of the good friends I've made on this website, such as Murdoc (@murdoc66), Weasel (@reaireaiweasei), Parthany (@parthanyjobtano), Mees (@nightwing734), Scorpi (@fucktobymaguire), Flamingo (@flamingooooo), and everyone else in Bot Gang + the AOTY Community server!
Thanks to Matt (@mattsreviews), Ida (@nxnzn), & Nico (@nicoperagine) for letting me join their admin team there. Also... you should go check out Nico's "Weekly Transcontinental Album Exchange" list which displays a group of obscure(ish) album sharing which was recently started! (I'm a part of it)
Also, thank you to my amazing girlfriend who has always supported my musical ventures and is a large reason why I still review (@strawbebbes)!
I wish I could mention everyone who has been nice to me here, but due to how amazing this community is I think it would be a bit too much, so I'll keep this limited :').
Thank you to everyone who has ever liked one of my reviews, commented on one of them, left a shout, followed, shared, etc. It all means an incredible amount to me.
I suppose I'll promote some other stuff I've been working on, as I haven't been doing a whole lot of reviews recently (partially due to school).
I recently began a challenge to listen to every single Field Recording record on RYM, of which there are over 4,400 releases. I have been documenting this here:
Anyway... I suppose that is about it. I will forever be incredibly grateful that I found this website, made my account, and chose to become part of the community.
Road to... 3,000 followers!
|1||Untitled / 70|
|2||Archangel / 100|
|3||Near Dark / 90|
|4||Ghost Hardware / 100|
|5||Endorphin / 80|
|6||Etched Headplate / 90|
|7||In McDonalds / 80|
|8||Untrue / 90|
|9||Shell of Light / 90|
|10||Dog Shelter / 80|
|11||Homeless / 90|
|12||UK / 80|
|13||Raver / 90|