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These Hopeful 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 Hopeful Machines, an effort that breaks the two-hour mark with only 12 songs. If that sounds like the progressive trance version of Saturnz Return, BT’s magnum opus does share some of the indulgence problems found on Goldie’s epic, but this effort is much more humble. The driving force behind Machines seems to be the producer’s love of freedom and exploration, as most tracks 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 onto its glitch-fueled flame-out is exciting, while the closing take on the Psychedelic Furs’ “Ghost in You” is a different trip, something akin to calmly floating in an ‘80s pop hit for eight minutes. “Forget Me” combines alt-rock angst and field recordings to great effect, while “Le Nocturne De Lumiere” 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 Hopeful Machines doesn’t try to convince, it’s meant to reward the already converted with a vast wonderland of melodic glitch and prolonged bliss.

Customer Reviews

Not moving on

I've been a BT fan since the early days and have pretty much enjoyed all his work, but unfortunately THM is just not moving the agenda forward. His signature edits and post production tweaks are still evident - and to great effect on tracks like A Million Stars and Le Nocturne. But lyrically he is weak, and although he has got some great vocalists on the album, they over do the the 'breathy, I'm so emotional' approach. Other artists within the genre have moved the agenda forward - Telefon Tel Aviv, Hybrid, Royksopp for example are producing music that is sounding now, new and fresh, THM sounds like it could have been made at the same time as Emotional Technology.
Technically, the album is faultless; sonically it'll give your speakers a good workout - but ultimately just a bit underwhelming. I wanted it to be so much more.

Trance Pop

I'm a huge fan of IMA and ESCM but BT is now a purveyor of trance pop not dance music. If that's what you like then you will love this with its breathy vocals, forgettable lyrics and choruses. Its stand out track, The Rose of Jerico, is a real stand out because its the only good track on it. The thing is I think he's trying to widen his audience away from just the fan boys of old, but in doing that he's lost them...

Worth the wait.

It's been a while since BT has done a 'dance' electronic album. I kinda forgot, but as soon as you put this on, it all comes flooding back. All the trade mark edits and beautiful production skills are here, along with some fine song writing. Not all the tracks are instant hits, but that's a good thing. It shows depth and maturity, and it means you can grow into this album. This album is just that, an album. It works very well as a body of work. As such, buy the whole thing and live with it for a while. It will enhance you days (and nights)!


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...
Full bio
These Hopeful Machines, BT
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Customer Ratings