100 Best Albums William Emmanuel Bevan’s music has always sounded as though it's being transmitted from somewhere deep underground—a place where drum ’n’ bass echoes through dirt and concrete. The London-born artist, better known as Burial, emerged during a pivotal time for electronic music in the UK, just as the jungle and garage scenes of the 1990s were blossoming into a network of different genres, each one generating its own sound and community. Bevan came up in the strobe lights of London raves, but by the early 2000s, he was also embracing the darker, more gothic sounds of bass music; he eventually sent demos of his work to Kode9, the founder of a fledgling electronic label called Hyperdub. Released in 2007, Untrue immediately became a touchstone of UK electronic music, aided by the mystique surrounding Burial’s anonymity (to this day, Bevan rarely grants interviews). The album is gritty without being abrasive, with house-like vocals that lend a gentleness to the thundering, muddy bass. The album’s second track, “Archangel,” is perhaps one of the most recognizable songs in electronic music, with its pitched-down soprano sample consisting of the lines, “Holding you/Couldn’t be alone/Couldn’t be alone/Couldn’t be alone.” (Bevan apparently wrote and produced the song in 20 minutes, following the death of his dog.) On much of Untrue, Bevan sounds like he’s attempting to triangulate the sound of isolation after dark. He wrote and produced the record nocturnally, insisting on getting to work long after the sun went down. Tracks like “In McDonalds” and “Homeless” are indicative of that approach: They evoke something quietly desperate, both in their titles and their spare compositions; the result is electronic music that’s deeply human and affecting. On Untrue, Bevan’s notes from underground thunder from beginning to end.

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