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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 31 December 2013
Rival Dealer is an EP with a blend of styles and ideas, from classic dubstep in its dark and minimal effects to drum and bass and electro. Through a mix of synthy vocals and cut up voices it hints at themes of love, relationships and identity.

The opening track Rival Dealer is most like Burial's recognisable sound with industrial noises, auto-tuned vocals and an electronic wail that comes closer and recedes. There are sections to the song, quieter lulls and changes of style with fast tempo drums and more ambient parts where you can hear crunching and crackling noises.

Hiders is a much shorter track and perhaps an evolution of Burial's style as it has warmer sounds and is more optimistic. There are piano and orchestral notes as well and the page begins slowly and picks up with the addition of drums. The female vocals work well, at times glitchy as they stop and start. There are traces of 80s pop filtering through, mixed with electronic effects to end with a static hum that creates a great sense of space.

Finally, Come Down to Us is the longest piece at over 13 minutes and continues the positive message with snippets of conversation, strings plucking as pinpricks of sound and an auto-tuned voice. There are scratches and thumps, notes like rainfall and the central motif fading and arriving again. As the song progresses there are alarms and noises, crossfaded bursts of sound that clear, making the listener feel calmer.

Long-term fans of Burial might not appreciate the change of direction on the middle and final tracks, but he might attract new listeners to his music and the sheer skill of the compositions is very pleasing to experience.
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on 24 December 2013
I first heard this on "6 Music" and had a WTF moment! If John Peel was still alive, he would be playing this every show despite the fact that it's over ten minutes long!
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on 11 January 2014
"Rival Dealer" is the most divisive release of Will Bevan's career, replacing the claustrophobic darkness and understated beauty of his previous work with a newfound celebratory spirit that occasionally strays into cheesiness. There are moments of transcendent brilliance here, but also an awkwardness. The juxtaposition of light and darkness can be jarring. The title track begins with frenetic jungle and a vocal sample from Gavin DeGraw's "More Than Anyone", but then abruptly transforms into aching ambience, deeply evocative woodwind and saxophone, and a sampled voice enthusing about the city lights at night, ending with "one night, I saw something come down to us." Second track "Hiders" employs 1980s synth pads and cringeworthy drums that wouldn't sound out of place on a chart-topping Christmas power ballad. Burial's talent for drum programming was showcased to devastating effect on early tracks like "Distant Lights", so to hear him using beats like this is so unexpected that it's almost to be applauded. But while it may be conceptually defiant, it's still sonically conservative. The pitchshifted vocal samples, meanwhile, are as beautiful as anything in Burial's canon. Final track "Come Down To Us" mixes warm synths with an almost atonal sitar, and at around 7 and a half minutes introduces Christmas bells and a triumphantly cheesy melody. The track closes with an excerpt from a speech by transgender film-maker Lana Wachowski, leading some to speculate as to Burial's intended message with this EP. All three tracks are conflicted and endlessly contradictory. The ambiguity of the sound is both frustrating and fascinating. There are sufficient moments of beauty to make this a vital purchase for Burial's existing fanbase, but at the same time it's a difficult listen.
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on 11 April 2015
This really isn't my "type" of music but it is quite extraordinary. For those who have not seen it check out the documentary Bitter Lake [BBC iPlayer] where you will hear this as the soundtrack; and it is perfect.
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on 24 January 2014
I only discovered Burial this summer, but since then I have downloaded both albums and all the EP's. It's hard to explain why this music is so good - one reviewer said something like 'you find yourself playing it again, and again, and again...' and I have to agree. It's compulsive listening. I was initially apprehensive about some of the 10-minute-plus track lengths, but those tracks often feel like a mini-mix of 3 or 4 shorter tracks and work brilliantly.

So I was eagerly awaiting this EP - and couldn't help reading some of the early reviews, many very critical. I couldn't believe Burial would suddenly come up with something so bad after everything so good. I needn't have worried. This is brilliant.

A special mention for 'Come Down To Us' (some kind of plea for extra-terrestrial intervention?) - this has been criticised for the transgender/sexuality theme of the samples (which establishes quite a serious tone) and 'cheesy' chords. All I can say is this is my top track of 2013 and now my favourite Burial track. Compulsive, arresting, brilliant. 10/10. (No apologies for using the word 'brilliant' so often!)
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on 14 January 2014
Everything he's done so far is brilliant. Rough Sleeper/Truant was a big moment for me a year ago, and after two months of listening, this is just as good. I've seen a lot of reviews which have been very scathing about the very different sound palettes used, especially in the 2nd and 3rd tracks, but why should he be restricted to the same templates through his career? This is thrilling, highly developed music, and has a provocative feel which is only enhanced by the vocal samples (which I suspect have been very, very thoughtfully employed).
He's become a butterfly amongst the caterpillars with this release. No longer first among equals, but flying off into new worlds.
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on 12 June 2016
Haunting and profound. Feels like a musical picture of the modern world with all it's troubles and confusion.' Come down to us ' gives me goose bumps. The ep is 28 minutes of genius imo.
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on 16 December 2013
This ep is truly a beautiful piece of music. I had been waiting a long time for its release and I was not disappointed.
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on 5 August 2015
I bought this after watching the 'Bitter Lake' documentary - track 3 is especially atmospheric.
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on 4 March 2015
I bought it primarily for 'Come Down To Us' but 'Hiders' is growing on me with every play.
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