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Perfectly Deep Weekly: Your primary source for the finest deep electronic music on the Internet

Perfectly Deep Weekly #53:
Synkro, Burial, El-B

 

Dear <<First Name>>


This week I am introducing a new kind of theme, which I would like to call "Influenced by." 

 

Basically, I will take a point of departure in a significant album and then track artists that have been influenced by it - and look back in time for artists that influenced the album itself. In this case, I have chosen Burial's seminal album 'Untrue,' and done some digging into which artists came before and which came after.

 

Burial is quoted referencing El-B as one of his biggest influences (for instance in this video by the excellent Dub Monitor), and I personally find it clear that Synkro, coming on to the scene a few years after, has taken some exciting cues from Burial and made his own brilliant sound. In between these two, I of course also review the groundbreaking 'Untrue' album itself.
 

In any case, I hope you enjoy this newsletter as much as I did putting it together.
 

 

Keep it deep,

 

Christian Villum

 

 


Synkro - Live @ Brooklyn 03.01.2019 (2019)

Evil Concussion

Tags: #drumnbass #dubstep

 

Synkro is one of those artists that transcend genres: Though having roots in drum'n'bass and dubstep, you'll easily hear traces from ambient, techno, and electronica as well. 

 

Joe McBride, as is his civil name, is furthermore known for his tight production and emotive sound design. His tracks are rhythmically unique and compellingly melodic. Hailing from Manchester, he creates these intricate, emotional, and thought-provoking soundscapes that are influenced by many aspects of bass culture in particular - and electronic music in general. This is also where the influence, I would argue, from Burial is mostly audible. But more so also in his preference for moody, minor-key driven atmospheres.

 

In this mix, he starts at the quiet end of the scale with percussive downtempo electronica flavors before introducing proper drum'n'bass around the 12-minute mark. Still, however, very much so in the deep musical spectrum. Later comes more of a peak, like the track "Hours, Miles & Still" by Sully around the middle of the mix. The latter half of the set becomes beautifully ethereal with bigger bites of dubstep and various kinds of bass music.

 

It comes out on a German Mixcloud-channel hosted by an artist or curator known as Evil Concussion. This guy (assuming it's a guy), swears by music that (in his own words) is "idiosyncratic, anti-dogmatic and most of all, based on the essence of dance and deciphers [of my] sonic hallucinations and dehumanized sounds." Whatever that means, the sound is superb and compelling and is well worth checking out if you like this set.

 

Mixcloud

 


Burial - Untrue (2007)
Hyperdub

Tags: #dubstep #2step

It is hard to overstate the significance of 'Untrue' as a milestone in the history of electronic music. Its originality, elegance, timing, and general vibe - not to mention, in hindsight, its timelessness - make it one of the greatest electronic music albums of all time, if not in all music.

 

British electronic artist William Emmanuel Bevan, better known by his stage name Burial, comes from South London. Bevan, who at first remained anonymous, was the first artist to be signed to dubstep icon Kode9's electronic label Hyperdub in 2005.

 

He earned accolades for his self-titled debut album the following year, which included a dark, vibrant interpretation of UK rave music genres, including UK garage and 2-step. The Wire rated it the record of the year. Still, it was topped by Bevan's second album in 2007, 'Untrue,' which rose to even better reviews and sales.

 

Bevan's identity was made public by The Independent in 2008, and Hyperdub later verified it. Now exposed, he went on to work with top global acts like Thom Yorke, Massive Attack, Four Tet, and Zomby throughout the following years.

 

Burial's music, on this album, in particular, meshes a string of different genres, including future garage, dubstep, 2-step garage, ambient, and jungle music. Later in his career also deep and minimal techno.

 

On this album, I feel like highlighting all the tracks because they're just that good. Each of them, in their own right, acts as timeless time capsules that can stand on their own. However, if hard pressed, I'd have to mention 'Archangel,' 'Endorphin,' title track 'Untrue,' and the stomping closing track 'Raver.' All of which take the Burial sound to extraordinary heights with their elegant drum programming, gritty noise samples, well-selected vocoder-filtered vocal snippets, and overall melancholic sound. I can think of no other adjective than epic to describe them.

 

Hyperdub, the album's label, is arguably one of the UK's most famous underground labels through time. As referenced above, Steve Goodman, also known as Kode9, created the label on the foundation of a webzine of the same name in London, England, in 2004. It emerged from the early dubstep movement and quickly rose to prominence by putting out releases by high-ranking artists such as Cooly G, Dean Blunt, DJ Rashad, DVA, Ikonika, Laurel Halo, and Zomby, to name a few.


El-B - Essential (2020)
Lewis Beadle

Tags: #UKgarage #dubstep

As a founding member of Groove Chronicles, one of the early acts in bass music, El-B, commonly known as Lewis Beadle, was a pioneer of the soulful UK Garage sound. Later, his darker 2-step work had a significant impact on the development of the dubstep subgenre. Not just as a producer but, throughout the years, also as DJ and record label owner.

So no wonder he has been an inspiration to Burial's 'Untrue' album. To really explore the direct influences, we would ideally look into the records that Beadle released at the beginning of his career. But since this newsletter is album-focused, and he didn't release any album until recently, I have chosen the album he put out in 2020, 'Essential.' That is a collection of tracks spanning his career, including some of those early tunes - mixed with newer ones. Across this timeline, you can easily hear the parallels between El-B's and Burial's ways of making music.

Aside from this album, which is self-released, he has put out records on a wide range of labels. These include Scorpion, Dat Pressure Records, and Ghost Records, the latter of which he co-founded as part of a larger music collective that also included producers like Vandal and Opus.

'The Club' and '2000,' the album's openers are timeless garage tracks with minimal percussion, compressed bassline, and a highly danceable vibe. The style is followed up in 'Cuba,' one of the oldest tracks on the album. Here we hear a more stripped-down track that is rougher around the edges with more of a grime feel: Another defining bass music genre of the time.

'Amazon' takes us forward in time to the introduction of dubstep and shows a classic take on the genre with short vocal samples and snippets of a saxophone. Otherwise, it is a highly minimal track driven solely by the captivating bassline and percussion: Hi-hats, in particular, provide a high dose of funk.
My fave is probably 'Express,' where the garage sound is underpinned by its close ancestor, house music. So yet another historical reference in El-B's music.

All in all a highly influential producer who has set his mark on the bass music scene from its very beginnings, and consequently one who has laid part of the foundation on which Burial stands.
 
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PERFECTLY DEEP WEEKLY? REMIND ME AGAIN WHAT THIS IS?

 Perfectly Deep Weekly is a free newsletter that makes it easy to enjoy quality deep electronic music every week. It is curated by me, Christian Villum, an electronic music buff based in Copenhagen, Denmark. The idea is simple: I listen to the many releases that come out, pick the ones I like the best - and share them with you here.

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