Kode9’s Hyperdub label can seemingly do no wrong. Arriving in the mail last week was the first full length album release on the label, coming from the rather mysterious figure of Burial. Apparently put together entirely without sequencers and just using the wave editor software Sound Forge it is the missing link between early dubstep and late era garage and the new futuristic half speed dubstep of labels/production crews like DMZ. It is records like this that remind me of the radical potential of simplicity and making the most of minimal technology. Featuring a few tracks from the South London Boroughs 12” of last year, the album takes those ideas further ending up sounding as much like early dubstep/2-step producers like El-B as Maurizio and the other early Berlin Basic Channel/Chain Reaction sound. In Burial’s beats there is a swing that has disappeared from the newer dubstep sounds, but as they are produced unsequenced they move in and out of time, and they sound muffled and sad. This atmosphere of bleakness and grey skies overshadows the whole album, giving every track a mournful quality – tracks like You Hurt Me should be energetic with bass drops and jittery beats but end up sounding contemplative and melancholic. Most tracks revolve around a simple motif or vocal sample and instead of being packed full of sound they echo with space, emptiness – a simplicity akin to that of early jungle then the result of technological limitations, but now a radical voluntary aesthetic. The hiss and crackle that permeates everything sounds alternately like rain, mist, fog, pirate radio static, tape hiss, and old vinyl all together, adding another layer – much like those first Basic Channel records that really emphasised the sense of loss and lack. This is an amazing album and even though in the Southern Hemisphere we are far from the internalised grey skies ‘no futurism’ of London it is perfect for our impending winter.