BT- These Hopeful Machines Review

I first listened to These Hopeful Machines the day the album was released. That was a couple of weeks back, yet I held off writing about it till now.  The reason being,  the singles that were released prior to the album’s release had me salivating at the thought of new music from Brian Transeau, the dual disc album failed to impress me on first listen.  I really enjoyed the singles, “Suddenly” and “Every Other Way”.  They are the two best songs on the album, in my opinion.  It is this realization: that I had already heard the best the album had to offer before it’s release, that turned me off.

So today, I listened to the album again, hopefully with fresh ears.   “Suddenly” is still a killer track.  Glitchy beats, soaring guitars and mutilated vocals.  It is fresh exciting music.   “The Emergency”,  the second track on the first disc, turned me off.  It is too generic and too repeative.  BT is a pioneer.  This song is not the work of a pioneer.  “Every Other Way”, on the other hand, is an epic track.  The eleven minute song was built for a movie soundtrack, which may not be an outlandish remark considering BT’s work on film scores.  JES who BT collaborates with on “Every Other Way” and the following “The Light in Things”, has an amazing voice.  The element her vocals bring elavate the two songs.   “The Rose of Jericho” is this album’s “Flaming June” but the comparision is really unfair.  The original BT standout track is hardly touchable.  “Forget Me” is well, forgettable. 

Disc two starts off slower than the first disc with a collaboration with vocalist Kristy Hawkshaw, who BT has worked with on previous albums.  Her work on ‘Running Down the Way up” off BT’s Movement in Still Life was my favorite track from that album, so I had high expectations.  I didn’t remember anything great from the first listen, but on the second run I was drawn into the song alot more.  The song would not sound out of place on a Tiesto album.  “Love Can Kill You” and “Always” don’t offer much in the way of outstanding material, but “Le Nocturne de Lumière” (which my rough translation gives me Light in Darkness) evokes memories of BT’s  instrumental disc This Binary Universe.  ‘The Ghost in You”, a cover of The Psychdelic Furs is a good album closer, which wouldn’t sound out of place on BT’s Emotional Technology album.

By the time I had listened to the album again, I feel as though I could come to grips with my feelings.  I adore BT.  Brian Transeau is my favorite electronica artist, and someone who really fits the bill of an “artist”.  Throughout his work, I have felt as though he has been on the cusp of new sounds.  These Hopeful Machines unfortunately is a mixture of elements from his past work, with the exception of a few select tracks.  I like the sounds, but they don’t give me the same chill I felt when I listened to his previous work the first time.

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3 Responses to “BT- These Hopeful Machines Review”

  1. Great analysis, thank you so much..

  2. This album is a perfect example of excellent music destroyed by LOUDNESS WAR.. I love BT’s music but compared to his previous album this is way way too much compressed and unbearable to listen to =(

  3. Disappointed Says:

    I agree, with bt-fan. I’m surprised this review didn’t go more into this. Considering the reviewer claims to be a BT fan, this is probably the most noticable change from BT with his two recent VERY POP albums. From godfather of trance to just plain pop music, his mastering has also gone the same way. I think BT has become too obsessed with the iPod and frankly the only way to make the iPod sound good without an external headphone amplifer is loudness.

    I’ve noticed that with a good pair of headphones, amp, DAC and with WASAPI or ASIO output, These Hopeful Machines sounds awful and it’s constantly clipping. It’s just as bad as a Muse album.

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