Nov 12, 2017

Digging Burial's Untrue

Burial's Untrue album turned ten last week.

The album is feted by critics. The BBC calls it "powerful". Drowned In Sound called it "unspeakably romantic". Pitchfork just banged on for ages and used the word "sophomore" six hundred times.

Burial's mystique helped. It took the press five years to discover Burial's identity. "I wanted to use the sound of the earth," said Alan Titchmarsh after being exposed by Homes & Gardens magazine. "If you listen closely, it's mostly trowels."

His production techniques have been much copied, although we seem to forget that, famously, Untrue was produced by ghosts. This posed difficult logistics for studio staff. "They couldn't use the water cooler," I remember one assistant saying in an interview, "because their hands kept going through the little cone cups."

The album is a beautiful listen. Here's a Resident Advisor tribute to the album, which is a pretty good primer for those yet to get into Burial. Long may Alan's (and his ghosts') excellent work continue.

Nov 2, 2017

Name that tune? I wish I could

By and large, I can lance my ear-worms pretty quickly.

You know what an ear-worm is. Those snippets of music that get caught in your thoughts. The "oh oh oh oh oh" of New Kids On The Block's Right Stuff. The "I don't want a place to stay" bit of Technotronic's Pump Up The Jam. Little audio hooks by Alice Deejay, MGMT, Drake or flipping Adele.

Usually when I can name an insistent melody, it slowly fades.

But I had a tune in my head all day yesterday I couldn't name. A cheesy melodic wash that was tickling me something rotten.

I can't explain it here, but it went "da doo do doo de doo doo". I'd heard it somewhere before, maybe from Spotify's New Music Friday service.

Was it new, though? I tried to put lyrics to it, but I couldn't tell if it was a shiny recent single or something dusty from my youth.

Last night, I went to bed with it in my head. I yearned for a good sleep so I could wake afresh and immediately declare "yes! it's so-and-so b-side from (insert obscure indie band)!"

I slept. I dreamt. Then in the morning, my phone alarm woke me up.

The ear-worm was my chuffing Samsung phone alarm.

Flipping heck. The cheesy melodic wash I couldn't identify was in my pocket all along, set to go off at 8am the next day.

Consider this particular ear-worm lanced, skinned and boiled into mulch.