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December 21, 2020


Just when it seemed like Burial had drawn a line under his decade-spanning set of 12” releases — each a choice cut of longform ambient UK bass later collected on the Tunes 2011-2019 compilation — the enigmatic producer returns with another total blinder in a similar vein of deeply moving odes to rave’s golden era. As the age of lasers, fog machines and collective euphoria begins to slip from memory with the industry-wide decline of 2020, Chemz seems like a fitting tribute, and a reminder that we may live to party another day.

It’s no secret that Burial’s bread and butter is in what the late critic and Burial devotee Mark Fisher branded “hauntology”; the artistic representation of failed utopianism. In this sense, both ‘Chemz’ and its b-side counterpart ‘Dolphinz’ feel absolutely apt, and much cheerier examples than we’re accustomed to hearing from the producer. Sure, the vinyl textures still crackle like the soundtrack of summers long faded, but Burial’s trademark warped diva vocals are eminently uplifting, soaring to the rafters even in lyrical mourning (“don’t know what I’d do if I would lose your love”). The emphasis is further pulled toward the 12-minute title track’s continuous garage 2-step rhythm by powerfully amped club synths. As always, Burial invokes the warehouse sound as heard from the outdoor smoking area — but where he’s usually tragically barred from entry, Chemz allows for the possibility of finally joining in.

A strangely triumphant and comforting look forward to post-pandemic nightlife, Chemz delivers on all fronts of what makes Burial such a vital producer for our times.

Digital Tracklist

Vinyl Track List

A. Chemz [12:31]
B. Dolphinz [09:03]


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