Wong Kar-wai’s 1995 film “Fallen Angels” follows four creatures of the night. Midnight’s glimmer falls over the city and loneliness swells over those that remain awake. One of the stories told in the film is that of Ho Chi-mo, a mute rascal who breaks into shops after hours and forces those wandering the streets to attend whatever the business may be, a butcher or an ice cream store. For Ho Chi-mo, forcing a family to eat pounds of ice cream is the most joyous thing one could do, but the expressions on the family’s faces tell a different story. The film lives in the dark realm of night mode, and Burial’s latest EP, Antidawn, occupies that same world. The minimal, ambient EP follows two lovers in an empty church, unsure of what the morning will bring for them and if they will be left in the lonely company of strangers heading to work when the sun comes.
“Strange Neighbourhood” opens the church doors to a new character of “Fallen Angels,” one sitting alone in the darkness. “You came around my way” echoes through the quiet place as someone else dares to walk inside. There is an intimacy to the song, as though the listener is just dropped into this moment of encounter. The song takes up 11 minutes with not much sonically going on besides the distorted vocals, sounds of rain and an organ. Perhaps this is a song for the four a.m. confessionals that happen in the church.
The EP continues to “(reduce) Burial’s music to just the vapours,” and the song that stands out the most comes in the middle: “Shadow Paradise.” The song comes as an extension of those before, toned down sonically, but the vocals have a stronger presence with the repetition of “let me hold you for a while.” At this point, the two strangers who met in the church have taken the night together, and “Shadow Paradise” represents their first touch, first kiss. Antidawn is by no means an extraordinary piece of music, but it can function as company for the loneliness of wintertime, for waking before the sun, for being the first footprints in the fresh snow. Antidawn occupies 44 minutes — Burial’s longest work since his 2007 Untrue — and could have been his longest album if he chose to call it so. However, the choice of keeping this long work as an EP raises the question of why. Perhaps because the work is more minimal and experimental than most of his other work, he doesn’t want it to be grouped in with his full albums. Possibly, this is simply just a teaser for an album that will continue with these themes and sense of desolation. For now, Antidawn provides a story of two creatures in the night, able to meet, fall in love and say goodbye before sunrise.
Daily Arts Writer Katy Trame can be reached at email@example.com.