If you stop by more than once in a while over here then you should know who Burial Grid is. For the newbies, Burial Grid is the electronic musical project of Adam Michael Kozak. Kozak leans into the darkness in his music, giving an unflinching look at both the darkness in the world as well as the darkness he deals with in his own life. Insecurity, depression, anxiety, personal trauma,…these are the fuels to which Burial Grid’s deft electronic compositions make fire.
But if you’re thinking “Hey man, I don’t want to be bummed out or anything”, I’d say then go listen to Megan Thee Stallion or Chumbawamba and let the adults do their thing. A better thing to say might be “You get bummed by NIN? Or S U R V I V E ? Or Jean-Michel Jarre? Or Skinny Puppy? If not then Burial Grid is going to be your next big obsession.” While the inspiration is heavy, the musical aspescts are more a way to deal and cope with the darkness, not to endorse it. It’s mental and emotional therapy thru analog and digital prescriptions. And maybe an occasional edible for good measure.
Shores Of Quiddity, the newest album from Kozak and Burial Grid, possesses both intent to calm the mind while also setting fire to it. Recorded in January 2021 in late night improvisational recording sessions, Kozak was attempting to make music to ease a worried mind. Music to lay waste to the chaotic noise of anxiety and sleeplessness. But when a worried and sleepless mind records such sessions some of that worry still ends up in the finished product. The result is quite stunning, really. It’s a calm ride, with something sinister tailing you. A beautiful sunset over the Bay with an oil slick shimmering rainbow glistens from 50 yards out. This is an album of both rare beauty and raw, emotional pain. Sometimes happening simultaneously.
The album opens with “Blanketed”, a electro pulse that builds into pensive optimism. Prickly notes give the impression of the dawn of a new day, while a lingering bass note makes you err on the side of caution. Still, it’s easy to get lost in the weightlessness of that melody that seems to arrive from the ethereal place between sleep and dreams. “4 am Knows My Secrets” isn’t panic in the darkness, but the heaviness that wakes you just before dawn to let you know it’s all still waiting for you right outside the door. A few hours of sleep doesn’t erase the existential dread.
Elsewhere “Windsor Hum” takes us right into the void. 6 1/2 minutes of wobbly, woozy electronic noise that sounds like drones from the other side. It’s not necessarily a bad trip, but it’s not a euphoric one. “Caput Mortuum” is over 7 minutes of what feels like a deep space drift. Touches of Kraftwerk, Cluster, and Klaus Schulze give this Komische floater all the bubbly analog goodness one needs to crawl into the sensory deprivation tank and regress to our primordial stage. You know, get to the heart of what’s really causing all the anxiety and stress.
Tracks like “One In Each Of Every Color” and “Crisis Apparition” have a playfulness to them. Effervescent as notes bubble and linger in the air like thoughts and ideas just before REM sleep. Album closer “Small As Sleep” wavers between the dark and the light. Piano notes coalesce with electronics, giving the proceedings not answers but closure just the same.
Burial Grid’s Shores Of Quiddity is the kind of album you take to heart. You find comfort in these 8 tracks. You find comfort in Kozak’s journey to find some kind of personal peace in the face of existential turmoil. It’s background noise for personal pondering. Or if you dig in and dive head first with eyes and ears wide open, you could hit some serious emotional and mental bedrock. Either way, this is an amazing electronic album. One for the ages.
8.7 out of 10
‘Shores of Quiddity’ is out now. Buy it here. Part II soon to follow.