Sunday, July 13, 2008
Electronic Music 2: BT Will Be Your Host
I was a freshman in college the day BT changed my life.
The groundwork had been laid for my conversion; a steady diet of classical music and progressive rock had provided fertile ground for the seeds of EDM to take root.
All I needed was the right seed, one singluar super-strain of electronica that wasn't too far towards the extreme of any one genre, the utmost in quality and inventiveness, and with an extensive catalog already available. I don't know what made Mark tell me about BT in our dorm hallway, but to him much is owed, for BT is all that and more.
BT, or Brian Wayne Transeau, is in all ways exceptional. He began playing piano at the ripe age of TWO. A musical virtuoso, he enrolled in the elite Berklee College of Music, but dropped out after a few semesters because his interests rested more with music electronics and synthesizers than formal musicianship. BT exploded onto the U.K. dance scene with early hits like "Loving You More," and "Blue Skies" (feat. Tori Amos).
His early work is unambiguously progressive house and trance, but it is third album I present to you for the most consideration.
Movement in Still Life, released in '99, was BT's seminal album, and my first true introduction to the world of EDM. It is unquestionably electronic: every song features an abundance of synthetic, energetic sound. Yet is it BT's effortless mastery of everything unelectronic that makes the album so delicious. He masterfully combines the electronic with the organic: electronic beeps next to acoustic guitar, soothing vocals laid over aggressive breakbeat. The album is a sonic journey, going from high-energy dance tracks to euphoric chillout, from trance, to house, to hip-hop. Only BT, a classically trained musician and relative genre outsider, could hope to produce a work as genre-defying and transcendent as this.
In retrospect, it was by far the perfect. Single. Album. to mark my introduction to the EDM as a whole. Normally I would single out worthwhile tracks to obtain, but this is the rare such album in which EVERY SINGLE SONG is amazing. I spent over a month being obsessed with one track after another. Go buy it, download it, iTunes-store it, however you prefer to consume it. And then listen to it. A lot. You really owe it to yourself.
In keeping with his excellence, BT's time is currently spread between being a superstar DJ, movie score composer, and recording artist. We as a species are blessed that such an extraordinary individual would choose to devote his life to music and share it with us.
Once you're done with Movement In Still Life, (and believe me, it will take a while) feel free to move on to these other favorites of mine:
**Not Over Yet (BT's Spirit Of Grace) (get the full 12 minute version if you can... the first 3 minutes is a spectacular from-ambient build that you don't get off the 8-minute version)
Flaming June (bt & pvd edit)
Remember (ESCM 12" mix and/or single mix)
Forbidden Fruit (BT & PvD's Food Of Love Mix)
Lullaby for Gaia
**In competition for my personal favorite EDM track ever.
Stay tuned for next weeks installment when we will examine my favorite genre: TRANCE.