Review: BT’s “These Hopeful Machines”

Posted: February 13, 2010 by Is This Revolutionary? in Reviews
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2010. A decade of uncertainly lies ahead. As technology continues to progress and consume our lives, the way music is crafted will inevitably change. BT’s (Brian Transeau) new album, entitled These Hopeful Machines, is the first step in that change. Managing to make an electronically driven album into something incredibly sincere, BT has proven that technology can be utilized to compliment a spectrum of human emotions. These Hopeful Machines is a near-2 hour epic that resonates particularly with my current feelings towards musical creation and the unpredictability of life.

I won’t lie. 2006’s This Binary Universe was one of the most amazing albums I have ever heard. BT went a more experimental route, utilizing organic instrumentation to create unbelievably beautiful atmospheres. His own invention, Stutter Edit, was utilized brilliantly (a certain production technique used to create rhythmical, and often glitchy, accents to a particular section). Although I could never fathom BT outdoing such a gorgeous record, upon listening to These Hopeful Machines, my jaw simply dropped. This is the first pivotal album of the new decade, in my opinion. With enough pop sensibility to make dance floors explode, this record is certainly more accessible than This Binary Universe. However, each radio-ready hook is accompanied by incredibly detailed micro-compositions (that often took years to compose). Truthfully, These Hopeful Machines is probably the most intelligent pop record to come out in years.

“Every Other Way”, featuring Jes Brieden on vocals, is one of my favorite tracks on the album; a lightly strummed guitar pattern is accented by breakbeats, chimes, and layers of synths. The result is an incredibly dense, textured soundscape that makes me feel like I’m straight chillin’ on rainbow road (Mario Kart 64, anyone?). “Le Nocturne De Lumiere” is another standout; this track is fully instrumental, a perfect addition to any DJ’s playlist and surprisingly complex. Weaving out of 4/4 into 6/8 in an unexpected time signature shift has no effect on the flow of the song, which is incredibly rare for dance music. With all the syncopation and technical aspects to the music, at no point does it overwhelm the listener.

There’s simply no word to describe These Hopeful Machines other than epic. After every listen, I can’t help but smile and think our legacy as the human race will forever be embedded in music as beautiful as this.

J.

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