A lot has been made of the very particular urban trajectories that the music of Burial typifies and soundtracks, but Untrue sounds as reflective of the surroundings in which I listen to it as I know it must of the night bus home across the city from a steaming Hackney nitespot. And those are surroundings completely free of a coating of grime, let alone decades or centuries of the stuff: driving in the morning dark on a narrow, winding and little-used country road out in the shires, the mist rising from the great pond, a startled deer caught in the headlights before it canters up the embankment through which the road burrows.
And it would probably sound as great on headphones and the 2:00 a.m. walk home from the local town’s one night club through residential streets sleepy with enchanted dreams as an hour or two later on a journey through the atria and ventricles of the city.
The common thread is darkness, night as thick as blood entombing the beats and the bass. It’s hard to imagine wanting to play Burial in the middle of a sunny day, and if you did, it would surely evaporate into nothingness, like a vampire caught short, napping, out.
Only the sampled snatches of young singing voices, as melancholic in their way as anything on Hatful of hollow, ground Burial’s music in time and space. But otherwise Untrue – lighter than its seriously dark predecessor – remains sufficiently free to adapt to its environment; to adapt to a world away from the neighbourhood in which it was formulated and recorded. And the mind is capable of infinite re-imaginings, plausible stories for why art works out of the context in which it was created, and in the context into which it has been brought.