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Untrue

5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 37.95
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars burial - untrue - pitchfork Jan. 17 2008
Format:Audio CD
If you know the true identity of London dubstep artist Burial, consider yourself a member of a very exclusive circle. Steve Goodman, who runs London's Hyperdub label, knows-- he cuts Burial's royalty checks, after all-- but if anyone else does, no one has yet had the temerity to out Burial's inner Peter Parker. Read an interview or two with the artist himself, and you'll quickly figure out why he's chosen to remain anonymous. Burial's decision not to let a backstory be a part of the music doesn't come across as a strategy calculated to maximize hype, but just the opposite: a means of keeping the music pure, faceless, answerable only to itself-- a closed system.

The critical success of Burial's self-titled first album threatened to derail the project's mystery, however. A collection of tunes recorded at home on a low-tech setup over the course of many years, Burial-- moody, brooding, by turns supple and sullen-- shot to the top of many critics' best-of lists last year. To judge from a recent interview with Burial posted on the Hyperdub website, the attention was more distracting than gratifying. "The first [album] got slightly out of where it belonged," he says, "and I found it a bit difficult to just block things out and make tunes in a low key way again, and it took time to just get back to doing that, and liking it, and doing it fast, and not trying to be a perfectionist. Just trying to dream up tunes again without worrying what people were going to think."

But if it's the reclusive life that Burial seeks, he might just be his own worst enemy, because his new album, Untrue, bests Burial's fans' wildest hopes for the followup.
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5.0 out of 5 stars He did it again. MASSIVE! March 18 2014
By D.
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Spacious. Heartbreaking. Reflective. Inspiring. This is another one of my favorite albums and without a doubt also within the top 5 UK Garage/Bass/Dubstep releases ever sharing space with his original debut LP. As always it demands to be listened to closely, carefully, peeling away layers listen after listen.

Simply brilliant.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  61 reviews
180 of 186 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Untrue Nov. 29 2007
By Mike Newmark - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
The council houses in London possess an aura that is easier to feel than it is to explain. Often covered in fresh tile and paint and given attractive names, they contain many of the city's former criminals, violent children and sexual deviants. I used to jog at midnight and come upon the council houses, always devoid of life from the outside, yet teeming with rotten things behind its clean façade. Every night I would return to them, both repelled and magnetized by their unnerving paradox of innocuousness and evil, letting the ghostly atmosphere of the council houses take me over in some puzzling, profound way.

Whether he knows it or not, anonymous London producer Burial makes music sound like council houses feel. His eponymous debut in 2006 capitalized on the eerie sensation of London at night by taking the rhythmic patterns and instrumentation of dubstep, a chiefly British genre, and blackening the palette. The drums sounded like knives hitting steel; the record crackles evoked raindrops; the bass was so low that it seemed to operate at subsonic frequencies. Every so often, a voice would make its strangled way up the surface, crying for everyone in London who wanted out before trailing off into the unforgiving cityscape.

As a dubstep album, Burial did double duty by raising the bar and providing a solid introduction to neophytes, but it faltered whenever it moved too close to standard dubstep skank for comfort. Untrue--Burial's sophomore effort and masterpiece-- jettisons everything that kept his last record from being a truly immersive experience, ratchets up the emotionality, and comes bathed in an unearthly, ineffable glow. In an interview with Hyperdub Records, Burial speaks of conceiving Untrue in the dead of night with the television murmuring and getting lost in the music as he made it. Indeed, Untrue is rooted in time and place (don't try listening to this in the afternoon), but amorphous enough to invite the kind of fascinated exploration that kept me coming back to the council houses time and time again.

It's a good thing that Burial stuck to one concept on Untrue, because what a concept it is. The music retains Burial's bleakness and trademark dubstep rhythms, but every track now contains disembodied R&B vocals similar to those you heard on MTV in the 1990`s--think Keith Sweat, Faith Evans, or any diva or crooner who made a killing singing the same garbage over and over. Stripped of their original context, though, these vocal fragments take on a powerfully yearning quality, whose diction may be smeared into indecipherability but whose meaning is clear and true. It is as though all of the vapid, shallow soul music of the previous decade has come back to haunt us in our dreams.

In fact, yearning is the prevailing emotion on Untrue. I'm reminded of Jonathan Safran Foer's short story, A Primer for the Punctuation of Heart Disease, in which he outlined punctuation marks to be used when words will not suffice. The mark that defines Untrue is the ellipsis, or for Foer, the pedal point (~), "indicating dissolution into suggestive silence." These songs feel like an outstretched hand, an attempt at communication that may be reciprocated or may fall unheeded into dead space. The bass drums seem to knock on something loose and wobbly, bringing to mind a jilted lover banging his palm on the steering wheel; the snare drums hit the counterpoints and then hang there with nothing else to fill the void. Sometimes the beats drop out altogether, as on "Endorphin," when Burial lets only a child's cry and a heart-busting ambient melody take us where we need to go.

Where we go on Untrue is someplace we only think we've been before. Trip-hop is the closest reference point, but Untrue is its own beast--a half-familiar dream with half-familiar elements. "Near Dark"s lame loverman refrain, "I can't take my eyes off you," is uncharacteristically despondent. The slow, undulating textures and diva vocals of "Ghost Hardware" may nod to mid-career Massive Attack, yet they're undercut by chattering rhythms that suggest a state of panic. Often, Burial beats Massive Attack at their own darkly evocative game: "In McDonalds" finds him painting a solemn picture of what it's like to eat at McDonalds during the graveyard shift, looking at the flickering fluorescents and the limp burger in front of you. He nailed it.

Burial claims that his desire to remain anonymous has to do with keeping his music separate from his personal life. So perhaps he's perfectly content to stay in the shadows for as long as it takes, yet Untrue bears the unmistakable mark of an artist struggling to connect. The young man on the cover... Is that Burial himself? What is he thinking? In "Archangel," the vocalist repeats, "If I trust you..." to no reply. On Untrue, Burial offers this conditional to us, reluctantly reaching out in the hope that someone will be listening on the other end.
46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is what the future sounds like Nov. 10 2007
By Eliah Hecht - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
...and it couldn't come a moment too soon. Easily my favorite album of 2007 so far. This blows his previous release out of the water in my opinion. "Massive Attack in 2020", like the other reviewer says, hits it right on the head. I can't stop listening to this, trying to get all my friends to listen to it, and now trying to get everyone on Amazon to listen to it.

It's dark, it's atmospheric, it's brilliant. Never pretentious, but always taking the next step. If you liked the trip-hop greats (Massive Attack, Portishead, DJ Shadow circa Endtroducing), you can't help but love this. In fact, this may be my favorite electronic album since Endtroducing, and Endtroducing changed my life. Untrue is that good.
38 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Luscious Nov. 21 2007
By Brandon Whitfeld - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Anonymous UK dubstepping phenom Burial has smoothly taken the decaying trip hop genre and shoved it into the 21st century. UNTRUE is a muted, whispery masterpiece with scratchy percussive dance beats and coiled echoing vocals; sorta like listening outside some underground London nightclub marked only by a humming caged blue light by its entrance. Awesomely addictive, with a seductive texture, this record is well on its way to making every Top 10 list for 2007, and speaks highly to what someone can do with a personal computer and an endless sonic imagination.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Burial delivers an ace follow-up to his 2006 self-titled release. Nov. 6 2007
By J. Brooks - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Did anyone think that Burial's sophomore CD could top his self-titled epic from 2006? I did not, but this does. For dubstep fans you are all ready all over this. For those wondered what Massive Attack would sound like in 2020? This is it. Nothing sounds this next-level, dark and beautiful. Burial delivers huge.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ghost in the Machine Dec 22 2007
By Sean Anders - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I imagine this is what a vast intelligence hears when synthesizing data excavated from long abandoned hardware after a mass diaspora of Earth. This is what they pieced together.
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