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These Humble Machines

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Album Review

After reinventing himself as more of a headphone artist with 2006’s glitchy album This Binary Universe, BT takes it a step further on These Humble Machines, an album that explores the producer’s love of freedom and exploration. This is actually the single-disc, slightly shortened version of the two-disc These Hopeful Machines, but just like its parent, most tracks here build, fade away, morph, and wander about with little care for what radio, clubs, or a major label might require. Fans who enjoy the glitch-meets-trance textures of Universe will find even more to love here, and more songs, too, as BT, the returning JES, and a handful of guest vocalists deliver the usual lyrics filled with modern mysticism. Riding “Suddenly” from its crunchy, avant opening to its Black Eyed Peas-like middle and on to its glitch-fueled flame-out is exciting, while the closing take on the Psychedelic Furs’ “The Ghost in You” is a different trip, something akin to calmly floating in an ‘80s pop hit for five minutes. “Forget Me” combines alt-rock angst and field recordings to great effect, while “Le Nocturne de Lumiére” creates a dream world out of thumb pianos and thumping house beats. Listeners who don’t mind so many devices and left turns must still be predisposed to BT’s airy, big-sky style of electronica to get the most out of this long, involved journey. These Humble Machines doesn’t try to convince; it’s meant to reward the already converted with a vast wonderland of melodic glitch and prolonged bliss.


Born: 1973 in Rockville, MD

Genre: Dance

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

His concept of epic house inspired by the classical training he received from an early age, Brian Transeau revitalized the British dance community in the mid-'90s and provided a point of entry for later dream house merchants like Robert Miles, Sash!, and BBE (though Transeau had, for the most part, left the style behind by the time of its pop success during 1997-1998). After his debut album appeared in late 1995 (as BT), Transeau hit the dance charts when his remix of Tori Amos' "Blue Skies" became...
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These Humble Machines, BT
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