BT - These Hopeful Machines
Release Date: February 2, 2010
Record Label: Nettwerk
When I requested to review BT's These Hopeful Machines, I wasn't quite sure what I was in for. I had never heard of Brian Transeau and his mash of trance, club, and dance music. My bets are that you haven't heard of him either unless you managed to catch his remix of Tori Amos' "Blue Skies" in 1996. Transeau is well versed in musical theory despite dropping out of Berklee School of Music after one year. He went on to produce artists such as Sting, Madonna, and Britney Spears. So this dude has been around the block a bit…so how his sixth studio album These Hopeful Machines?
The sprawling two disc album which is about two hours long is sporadic, multi-layered and relatively inventive. The opening track "Suddenly" is as catchy and heart-on-sleeve as any mainstream pop track. Yet the progressive quality that BT brings to his music makes it stand out above the likes of "California Gurls" and "Tik Tok".
The album is an interesting mesh of Nine Inch Nails, Massive Attack, M83 and Fuck Buttons like arrangements. Songs like "Emergency" and "Rose of Jericho" are head-bobbing rave fodder while "Love Can Kill You" are sure to be dance party favorites.
Despite the magnificently constructed orchestrations, Transeau's vocals do not stand out as being superb elements of the music here. They are good against their musical backdrop but so heavily electronified (I just made up a word by the way) that in many spots the sincerity seems to get bogged down in production. There are patches that seem over produced and profoundly layered to the point that the listener isn't able to get absorbed by the beat, which is one of the main tenets of electronic music.
Overall, the album is dreamy and elevating while occasionally meandering. From what I gather, fans of BT should eat it up. Yet, for those who have a deep affection or even a casual connection with electronica, there is plenty to like here.
Very nice review. I only listened to this album once or twice despite buying it back in March, but I definitely enjoyed it. I think it would make a good starter album for someone looking to delve deeper into trance and electronic music.
Agreed with above poster :) genius definately. Lyrically the album was par for these types of trance records imo. Musically the album was incredible but i still don't think it'll have as much lasting value as ESCM, IMA and Binary Universe tbh.