or “sad two-step”, as we more snickeringly call it around here. I’m pretty over it.
I told a friend the other day that my relationship with electronic music can be broken down into “before I heard Burial” and “after I heard Burial”. I was speaking somewhat hyberbolically for the sake of humor, but to say that Burial’s music had an enormous impact on me is in no way an exaggeration. Once I understood that he belonged on the highest echelon of Essential Listening, I devoured every pertinent thing that I could find, interviews, tunes, all of it; and, I imagine like many other people, I was somewhat crestfallen at the fact that his discography is in fact quite brief. Two short LPs and a handful of EPs and singles. I was not sated. So I began looking for stuff that was similar. I expected to find nothing, but was surprised to see a proliferation of music with the tagline “if you like Burial you’ll like this”. None of it ever measured up, needless to say; instead of more Burial I got a string of crude imitations (“crude” is sort of tongue-in-cheek; the problem with pretty much all of these tunes is that they are attempting to copy something which is completely raw in a way that’s highly polished, thereby completely missing an essential element of that which is the subject of imitation). Mournful vocals over sequenced 808s don’t make Burial, they make garage which is depressing instead of funky; but when you’re that hungry, something is better than nothing.
It didn’t take me very long, however, to get bored of sad two-step. Burial’s music may be dirge-like (okay, IS dirge-like, his eponymous first LP is one of the most anguished works I’ve ever heard), but it is different, unique. Sad two-step has very little in the way of fresh, interesting sounds; which is why I can put on Burial’s music after having heard it countless times before and still be just as moved, but the rest of it doesn’t really bear repetition.
And that’s where Pariah comes in. I’d never heard of this guy till recently, when my friend DJ Sideswipe played me “Orpheus”. There are exceptions to every rule, and this is sad two-step done really, really well. It’s dubby, mournful but funky, skillfully executed (the bass, in particular, is quite lovely), and…well…I’ll be damned if this tune isn’t just as infectious as hell. I’ve had it stuck in my head for the last two weeks straight and it’s showing no signs of relenting. I’ll be keeping an eye on this guy…