Dublin producer Will DeBurca’s second album ‘Embedded’ was released last month. A successor to 2014’s ‘Tomorrow’s Light and Darkness’, and a couple of prior EPs, ‘Embedded’ is an often-engaging, and occasionally wonderful piece of electronica, melding intricate, thoughtful production with some bold, cinematic ideas. Likely appealing to fans of artists on the Bonobo, Aphex Twin, RJD2 sector of the Venn diagram, it remains fresh enough over the course of its 25 minutes to be a worthwhile listen.
DeBurca amply demonstrates his comfort with any number of tones and concepts, and the first half of the album refuses to remain in the same place for too long a stretch of time. Opener Madrid makes good use of staccato-sounding synths and heavily-applied, bassy percussion. Spoken word and repurposed audio make two interesting appearances here also. In the first, a sample of self-help advisor Earl Nightingale’s 1956 work ‘The Strangest Secret’, dominates It Shall Be Opened, making decent use of strings to create an atmosphere. The second, unquestionably the highlight of the entire record, is Arturo Gatti. De Burca relays audio from the life and death of Italian-Canadian boxer ‘Thunder’ Gatti, who died in 2009, over a luscious, keyboard-heavy instrumental. Using the sounds of both news footage and fight commentary, the result is both thrilling and tender.
Elsewhere, The Sound of the End of the Night, with Aoife Underwater on vocals, utilises the same type of doe-eyed keyboard lines, seemingly aiming for some kind of club-friendly crossover appeal. Admittedly, a few tracks, later on especially, while perfectly competent, do little to linger in the memory. A Dream Within a Dream plays around with reverb-laced, chilled-out guitar, while Sliced lays on the orchestral strings. As a full project, ‘Embedded’ could have done with maybe a touch more individuality or eccentricity; some of the instrumentals land a bit too firmly in the middle of the road. A good chunk of Embedded is highly montage-friendly – all very well and good, but it risks alienating the listener who’s only here for the tunes.