The best electronica behaves in many ways more like cinema than other kinds of music. Rather than speak of melody, harmony, rhythm or other standard musical elements when listening to the genre, one is more likely to speak of focus, dissolves, superimposition, montage, and other tricks of the filmmaker’s trade. Even the favored hip-hop-derived terminology for the auteurs of electronica, “producers,” carries cinematic associations.
At least that’s what struck me while listening to “Rival Dealer,” the latest EP from British electronica producer Burial (William Emmanuel Bevan). Over three tracks totalling a bit more than 28 minutes, “Rival Dealer” blends vocal fragments (sung and spoken), natural sounds, electronic effects, instrumental riffs, record scratch, jittery beats and a little bit of everything else with a master film director’s sense of pace, action and storytelling. It’s as gripping and involving a half-hour of sound-art — OK, music — as I’ve heard yet this year. Give it a try: