I don’t see the point of writing about this song in the daytime. I don’t see the point of listening to either of these artists before 10 p.m. Massive Attack and Burial prey upon weakness. They exploit our inherent inclination to grow mournful in the witching hours. Threnodies ideally consumed while solitary, solemn, and with a pyschedelic strain of Sativa.
Listening to “Four Walls” in the daytime drains the track of the magic that it may possess. Right now, I’ve just woken up, had my cup of coffee and am still shaking off the cobwebs of last night. But like all Burial songs, this sounds like cobwebs. Memories clinging to the corners of your mind like crust. Intelligent Damned Music.
Will Bevan inflicts the acidic corrosion and dull metallic glint of the underground to Massive Attack’s sleek Bristol disorientation. There was talk last year about Burial remixing the whole of the still-underrated Paradise Circus, a la the Mad Professor and No Protection. But it’s unsurprising that only two songs will materialize (available for 25 pounds in a limited edition vinyl that allows you to talk to God for the track’s 12-minute duration).
What’s clear is that Burial understands how to atomize emotion. He compresses and distorts vocal samples until they are plaintive and cetacean murmurs. The lead vocalist, presumably Martina Topley-Bird, is turned even more ectoplasmic. On “Four Walls,” he drags the tempo to a crawl. The 2-Step and garage influences are muted in favor of a twitching crawling ambience. A Burial remix turns tracks into zombies, they lurch and stagger with tenebrous pallor, but the brains are intact. You still have to feel something. As I write this, it is 10:30 a.m. The day is flat, blank, and with few scars. You are supposed to wait a dozen more hours and let this slowly suffocate you..