It’s one of those things that rarely happen: You’re in a record shop, browsing, find a new release you haven’t seen before, take it home, and find out no one has seen it before – as it actually wasn’t meant to be on the shelves yet! That’s in short what happened to Sean, last Friday. And once he added the latest Burial release to Discogs, several news outlets ran the story: Pitchfork, Consequence of Sound Factmag, NME and others. But what happened exactly? We asked Sean, who added the release to Discogs, to tell us his story.
“It’s been a pretty exciting 48 hours for me,” Sean explains, “I stopped in to Sonic Boom on my way home from work on Friday, hoping there might still be copies of the Death Grips and Erykah Badu RSD releases left. Sadly I didn’t get my hands on those releases, but that didn’t matter when I realized what I had found. So I’m flipping through the RSD bins they had setup and came across about 5 or 6 of copies of the Burial 12″ and grabbed one. I knew that there had been a trend of surprise releases from him around this time of year so I looked it up on Discogs and came up with nothing. The store clerk I asked hadn’t heard of it either. On my way home I did some quick Google and Twitter searches to see what I could find out about it, and the only thing I found when searching “HDB100” was a reddit post from June 2016 guessing that Hyperdub‘s 100th release would be a Burial release. Turns out that person was right!
As you can imagine I’m freaking out thinking I may be one of the first people to own this surprise release, and as soon as I get home I listen to it. There were no markings on it to suggest 33 vs 45, and all of the other records I have from him are at 33 so my first listen of “Young Death” was actually at the wrong speed haha. I loved it anyway, and before flipping to the B side I listened again at the right speed. Burial’s tracks usually take a few listens to sink in, so I’m not sure which I like better yet, but I knew it was legit right away, no one cuts samples the way he does.
After listening twice I made the submission on Discogs and posted about it on Twitter. Within a couple hours I had people tweeting at me about it and by midnight on Friday it was really starting to gain traction. By 8am the next morning my tweets had found their way to Pitchfork, who made that first post based on my info and from reaching out to Sonic Boom and Hyperdub. Fact, NME, Stereogum, and Noisey all followed suit not long after. By noon on Saturday Hyperdub reached out to me on Twitter telling me to enjoy my early copy and respectfully requesting that I not rip and share the record so that it could remain a surprise for others, which I was totally game for, owning one of 5 copies in the world for a minute, are you kidding?? It really is rare for something like this to happen. I mean Beyoncé is great at surprise releasing new albums online, where you’re only really the first to hear it if you have the fastest internet connection, but finding this record felt like I had unearthed a genuine discovery, particularly since it was a release from an artist that keeps himself well hidden in the shadows, you know. How often can you search for something on Discogs, or hell even Google, and not come up with a single result? I do feel guilty that I helped spoil the surprise that Burial and Hyperdub had cooked up, but it was bound to happen and I’m way more chuffed that I got to experience hearing it in the way that I did!”