Greetings Brits and fans abroad (note the flag counter). We hope you all had a great Pancake Day, easily the most ridiculous yet charming cultural celebration ever imagined. In America we have Pancake Day as well - it's called "breakfast". You may also note that we'll be starting our tour in your soil very shortly:
Sunday 01 Liverpool, UK Korova
Monday 02 Cardiff, UK Clwb lfor Bach
Tuesday 03 Nottingham, UK Rescue Rooms
Wednesday 04 London, UK Electric Ballroom
Thursday 05 Brighton, UK Concorde
Friday 06 Birmingham, UK Academy
Another song that traveled with me through points in time and location. I can first remember listening to this record on a fall break between a dismal tour in the states and a mostly rewarding and uplifting tour through the UK and Europe. I would have to drive into the city almost every day during break to run errands and take care of FU bureaucracy..when I wasn't listening to the CBC I forcing myself to listen to newer music on my ipod.
I've always shied away from dubstep and UK garage music because I don't really like break-beats - to me the most appealing thing about dance music to me allegorically as well as sonically is that there is always a beat there that doesn't deviate or split - a solid beat helps you to envision the dance music zeitgiest, that of the happy mass of people all falling in love on the dance floor. Breakbeats shatter that illusion and uncover a different symbolic reality, which I think is perfectly represented on this Burial("Untrue") album, which atleast for me brings back exactly those type of memories. One reviewer described it as "oneiric dance music", which I think is true of all dance music (see above), except that usually the intended visions are more euphoric than bleak.
We spend the first two weeks of our late fall tour in the UK, something we'd done before and swore never to do again. The weather is worse than usual (last winter I spent 90 minutes at a Crystal Palace game sitting on a metal seat during a snowfall) and everything seems downtrodden and cold. We landed in the rain and moved slowly through the country in the rain climbing our gear up flights of stairs through the rain. We drove in a bus that had bunks but no heating, so we would try to spend some time together as a unit until succumbing to the relative warmth buried (get it) inside 3 layers of duvet covers in the bunks. I started listening to "Untrue" every day in mostly these dismal wet steely scenarios. When we played in Birmingham and had to carry our gear up 2 flights of stairs covered with that apocalyptic metal grating...we felt like we were trapped in a comic book, but our friends from SSS helped us do the work...backstage trying to drown out the din playing killing metalic aliens in Contra 4 on Nintendo DS...wandering around a sterile and harshly lit Sainsbury's in Sheffield at night in the rain next to the university. Often we would fight and I would set up amps up with a hood over my head and this song playing loud into noise reducing headphones. The point is this record describes in sound the way a lot of people concieve (and the way I remember) Britain, but also the British experience. It has a mechanic but bittersweet sound underlaid with those broken beats that support estranged and angelic vocals. It's easy to see the classically British class conflict - the steel and soot of industrialism built by the poor to carry the rich, the bus ride from work in Knightsbridge to a council estate in Brixton (where this record was made). Seeing something or someone beautiful in the dark and in the rain. Having to have something called "Pancake Day" in order to eat pancakes. The light touch of the mourning vocals that seem to want to detach from the heavy momentum of the bass synth, or break up on their own, with the beat as they stutter and fail to complete a line.
I try not to listen to the record so much because now it just reminds me about bad times, which is the contrary to the effect I think the record should have. It's hard to be objective about music let alone your own associations to it, but it's clear the the album is about mobility, not stagnation. The beat is broken, but it keeps moving forward.