Last week Beyonce frustrated music critics everywhere by releasing her latest album, Beyonce, online and unannounced. (This complicates year-end lists, which music writers are often required to submit way before the end of the year due to publication deadlines and the growing impatience of the lists’ intended audience.) Well, Beyonce isn’t the only one who submitted a best-of-the-year candidate right before the finish line—British electronic-music artist Burial (aka William Bevan) also chimed in with Rival Dealer, his latest in a line of recent EPs on phenomenal electronic label Hyperdub. Yet unlike Burial’s previous EPs—though they are all exemplary—Rival Dealer feels like the first that marks a dramatic progression from Untrue, Burial’s last LP and benchmark work. Where Burial’s work since then is suffused with sadness, Rival Dealer‘s music revels in new textures and emotions—the last song and highlight, “Come Down to Us,” is the most uplifting and brightest song that he has yet produced. I’m including “Rival Dealer,” which has elements of jungle, hard-core techno, and Vangelis-style ambient music—but the EP, consisting of three tracks, is meant to be listened to as one piece of music. You can stream it here, and check out “Rival Dealer,” today’s 12 O’Clock Track, below.
Correction: This article has been amended to correctly identify Burial as William Bevan.