Burial’s music has always been steeped in atmosphere; the omnipresent sounds of vinyl hiss, rainfall, and cavernous reverb are as much a part of his signature as cut-up breakbeats and mournful vocal melodies. But until Antidawn, the UK producer’s work had almost always remained rooted in dance music. This five-song, 44-minute EP—long enough to qualify as his third album, if he wanted it to—definitively breaks with the club. Like 2017’s Subtemple / Beachfires, Antidawn strips away virtually everything resembling a beat, save for a few brief rhythmic flourishes, so muted they’re barely noticeable beneath the static. What’s left is a purely ambient swirl of brooding synthesizers, crackling white noise, and eerily processed vocal snippets. It can be pretty doleful going: “Nowhere to go,” murmurs a voice in the opening “Strange Neighbourhood.” “I’m in a bad place,” intones another in “Antidawn.” But as is usual for Burial, even the blackest cloud is ringed with blinding light: Church organs suggest a hint of uplift, and many of his chords are major, rather than minor. All five tracks unspool like discrete parts of a single overarching composition; they’re murky enough that it can become easy to feel lost in the fog, casting about for a recognizable landmark. But even at his bleakest, Burial’s world radiates a sense of calm. The overall effect is as hypnotic as it is haunting: Burial distilled to his most desolate essence.

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