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Album Review
Rival Dealer

Rival Dealer
by Burial


Review Date
7th January 2014
Reviewed by
Paul Larsen

Just as Electronic music fans were hanging up the headphones and reflecting on an incredible year for the genre, lone producer, Burial has thrown his hat in the ring with a remarkable new EP seemingly out of nowhere. Long term fans will immediately recognise the stuttering minimalist rhythms throughout Rival Dealer, but as a standalone EP it sits outside the Venn diagram of Burial’s existing body of work for two reasons.

Chiefly, Burial himself (London based William Bevan) made the unique move of footnoting the work explicitly as an anti-bullying message or ‘an angel’s spell to protect – against unkind people’. The last of the EP’s three tracks, ‘Come Down to Us’ underlines this message with Lana Wachowski's moving speech when she received the Human Rights Campaign Visibility Award in 2012.

Secondly, Rival Dealer’s composition feels simultaneously more intense yet somehow airier than his previous works. His trademarked ‘end of the night’ downbeat feel and distorted vocal samples remain at the core of these songs but instead of a being centric, they’re used more effectively as a springboard to launch off into new territory. Cutting break-beats, endless murky bass, evocative samples and throwback synths are all flung compellingly into the mix but all are at risk of disappearing just as suddenly.

Boasting more variation, contrast and depth across its three tracks than most long players will over a dozen, Rival Dealer closed out 2013 in evolutionary and thrilling fashion. 2014 has a lot to live up to.


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