Burial, Four Tet & Thom Yorke: Ego


Text 2011.  TEXT010


I like to keep this blog on the topic of music, but the music is facilitated by the technology I use, so sometimes that’s worth talking about.  In the past I’ve always had dealers set up my turntables, but with the vintage deck I’m using now, I did it myself.  Endless tinkering never got it quite right, so last week I threw in the towel and decided to buy a better cartridge (that’s the bit the stylus sticks out of) and suddenly everything worked much better.  To my surprise, there was nothing wrong with the set-up I’d done – I just needed to get my wallet out.  The new cartridge is a Dynavector  DV20XL if you’re interested.  Anyway, all this means that the vinyl rips will sound quite a bit better from now on.  The Dynavector tracks better, produces a more detailed sound, and doesn’t create sibilance on vocals like the old one sometimes did.  For some reason it also picks up a lot less surface noise which is a nice bonus.

First rip with the new cartridge is one that the old cartridge struggled with.  I’ve posted a Burial/Four Tet collaboration before; the involvement of Radiohead’s Thom Yorke on this one was a surprise.  As is usual with these releases it comes with minimal info; plain black cover and labels, with just the title etched into where the runout grooves would be if it had runout grooves.  It was also accompanied by a load of hype about how limited it was – clearly they pressed quite a lot as it wasn’t hard to come by, and even now isn’t particularly valuable.

That this is a great record comes as no surprise, but Moth was a tough release to live up to, and by my reckoning, they don’t quite manage it.  In a way it sounds exactly as you’d expect – it’s a minimal, dubbed out, melancholy piece of electronica which rewards repeated listenings.  After you’ve heard it, the collaboration seems, well, inevitable rather than unexpected and Thom Yorke’s voice is more effective here than in most other places I’ve heard it.

Burial & Four Tet: Moth/Wolf Cub


Text Records 2009. TEXT006


Perhaps the most hyped release of 2009, at least in the world I inhabit, was this 12″, a collaboration between what I think have been the most exciting musicians in the electronic field in recent years.  A stupidly limited pressing (I was lucky to get a copy) and black labels and covers all added to the mystique.  The only information supplied is what’s etched into the runout grooves.

For once the music lived up to the hype.  Moth is the better of the two tracks and sounds like nothing  either have produced before.  It’s very laid back, very eerie sounding with manipulated vocals wandering in and out.   Wolf Cub sounds more like you’d expect, to the extent that it’s possible it’s simply an amalgam of material worked on prior to this collaboration.  Whatever, it works really well, and is only overshadowed because it’s paired with the remarkable Moth.

Unfortunately it’s a very noisy pressing.  I’ve put it through my record cleaning machine twice, but to no avail.  Normally I’d have sent it straight back, but since there was no chance of getting another copy, I decided to live with it.

Further listening?  Well Burial’s first, self-titled album is essential, and Four Tet’s new 0181 is working well for me, that is if you can find a copy.  Both are so consistent though, that it’s worth buying anything you see, especially the very limited Text 12″ singles.