I’m a little late to the Burial story, so I was not able to follow the story of the identity of Burial as it unfolded through his rise to fame and eventual “outing” in 2008. Instead I learned about it through a few short articles online. As it turns out, the story is far less important than the music that drew me to seek the story out.
Burial’s compositions are not made up of traditional elements. You won’t hear a guitar, a piano or even a recognizable drum. What you will hear is simple and emotional down-tempo heaven. It’s not surprising that he went to high school with Kieran Hebden, aka Four Tet. At times on ‘Untrue’ it sounds as though they could have taken some of the same electronic music composition classes.
Since being unwillingly outed by The Sun in 2008, Bevan has kept himself busy collaborating with Four Tet, Massive Attack and others. He’s also released additional material as Burial, albeit in as a less-marketable product than was ‘Untrue.’
William Bevan’s desire for anonymity isn’t solely rooted in shyness. He claims, and rightly so, that live performance has become more about capturing the experience, about the story behind the music and all the extraneous branding distractions that come with being a performer. He says he’d rather get lost in the music than take a picture of it, to be present in the moment for the music and nothing else. It sounds like he’s only asking for the same courtesies from everybody else, which is a big ask in a time of mass instant documentation.