“Antidawn” by Burial (2022) – Review

The mysterious yet highly influential UK producer Burial has once again retreated into the shadows of his own sonic realm with the release of “Antidawn.” This work is unlike any other in his discography, showing that even a master of a specific style can constantly evolve and redefine his musical boundaries.

As you press play on “Antidawn,” you’re instantly greeted with the classic Burial trademarks: spectral samples, crackling vinyl hisses, and scattered percussive elements, yet there’s something distinctly different about this project. It feels as if Burial has distilled the very essence of his previous work and gone further, diving deeper into the ocean of ambient electronic music.

The beats, often the driving force behind Burial’s tracks, are less prominent in “Antidawn,” with some songs almost entirely devoid of percussion. The emphasis is, instead, on the atmospheric layers that create an eerie, desolate soundscape. This isn’t music that demands your attention, but rather, subtly invites you to immerse yourself in its expansive world.

“Antidawn” strips down Burial’s already minimalist approach even further, crafting a soundscape that feels hauntingly empty, yet strikingly profound. This isn’t to say that “Antidawn” is a somber or depressive record. Instead, it walks a fine line, with a sense of melancholic beauty radiating from its core. The track “Lament” particularly stands out as a prime example of this. Its poignant melody and sparse arrangement carry a profound sense of solitude, yet paradoxically creates a universal emotional resonance that many listeners will likely connect with.

What’s particularly striking about this album is how Burial has managed to make use of silence. The voids in between the sound are almost as important as the sounds themselves, creating a tension that permeates throughout the record.

At first listen, “Antidawn” might feel less accessible compared to Burial’s earlier work. Yet, it’s in these challenging moments where “Antidawn” shines brightest. Like a challenging book or a thought-provoking film, “Antidawn” requires your investment as a listener, asking you to meet it halfway and fill in the gaps with your own emotional narrative.

All said and done, “Antidawn” is another intriguing chapter in the evolving musical narrative of Burial. It’s a record that not only showcases his ability to evolve and adapt, but also his unerring skill at crafting soundscapes that carry an emotional weight. It’s a beautiful testament to the power of minimalist electronic music, and a testament to Burial’s relentless pursuit of his own unique sonic vision.

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