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BT - A Primer

BT is a DJ known most for his pioneering of the Progressive Trance genre, and his landmark rrcontributions to electronic music in general. He's by far my favorite Electronic artist, and I rwant rto try and help people get into him more...so here's a short rundown of his albums, with rsamples.
1BT
Ima


["Nocturnal Transmissions" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUAkgfrVoxw] If you're new to BT,
try starting with his mid-'90's debut, 'Ima'. Here, you'll find him noodling with the conventions of
trance, creating compositions that may feature rises and falls and climaxes and denouements, but
aren't centered around them by any means. It's much more subtle than most of its peers, and
much more groovy, and it's these are the qualities that give it its charm--unlike most albums of the
time, you can actually enjoy this outside of the dance club (though it is still dance-worthy). 'Ima'
is consistent, worth exploring, and remains one of BT's best, and that's why it's such a good
starting point for new fans.
2BT
ESCM


["Flaming June" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfCc56njC7U] 'ESCM' is another good starting
point for new BT fans. This album finds BT experimenting a bit more, and branching out, exploring
sounds and genres that were ignored on 'Ima' (see "Memories In A Sea of Forgetfulness"). The
compositions are of more reasonable length (no LP-length tracks here), and are a bit more varied
from each other. Also..."Flaming June" is on this album. 'ESCM' is definitely one of the finest
Progressive Trance albums out there.
3BT
Movement In Still Life


["Godspeed" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHMm6W_042U] 'Movement In Still Life' was the first
album I heard by BT, and while it's not his best, it's probably my favorite for personal reasons. This is
where BT decides to make an album more suited to dance clubs and conventional trance mixes--
comparable to Paul Oakenfold's 'Bunkka'. The result is one of the best albums of its ilk...and a middle-of-
the-road one for BT as a whole. Gone are the 8-12 minute instrumental experiments in music, and in their
place are 4-6 minute trance singles with guest vocals all over the place. There're the ethereal female
vocals ("Dreaming"), the drawling half-rap of Soul Coughing's Mike Doughty ("Never Gonna Come Back
Down"), and even the shadows of what would become a worldwide hit ("Smartbomb," which would be
remixed and sampled by BT for N'Sync's "Pop," which he produced). So why is it my favorite? BECAUSE
IT'S FUCKING CATCHY AS HELL. I'm listening to "Never Gonna Come Back Down" as I type this, and when I
first discovered it, it quickly became my most played song of all time (it's still in the Top 10, according to
Last.fm). It's still quintessentially BT, but under the guise of pop, some may not be able to appreciate it
as such. Doesn't mean it's not worthy of a listen...and it certainly doesn't mean it isn't amazing.
4BT
Emotional Technology


["Superfabulous" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6Dtmvcttlg"] All things considered, this is
probably BT's weakest album. And by "all things considered," I'm including the fact that its got all of
BT's other albums to contend with. This album is like 'Movements...', except much more pop oriented.
It's still a trance album, but it's easy to see what it aims for, and it's not to be explored and admired
for its experimentation, but to be played at clubs and house parties needing some danceable jams.
On that front, it succeeds; "Somnambulist" remains one of BT's most well-known songs, and most of
the others on here fit the bill well. It's just that with what came before it, and especially with what
followed, this album falls through the cracks as far as essentialness goes. Still...it's a BT record, so
pick it up.
5BT
This Binary Universe


["Good Morning Kaia" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X22VahrpMR0] Okay, how to describe this?
If Post Rock and Trance requested Classical to bear their child for them, this would pop out. If you've
heard of BT here on Sputnik, chances are it's because of this album, and for good reason--it's one of
the most awe-inspiring Electronic albums ever. This coming from someone who knows nothing of music
theory or advanced math/music concepts; I'm told that if you do, this album is exponentially more
impressive. Bleak, and yet so heavy; calming, and yet calamitous...well, you don't need any more
hyperbole. Just make sure that when you listen to it (AND YOU WILL), that you understand that this
isn't like anything else in BT's discography up to this point (and hardly has a comparable album in
Electronic music, period); don't let this album ruin him for you. Also, don't be shocked if it takes you a
good long while to get into it--it took me years.
6BT
These Hopeful Machines


["Suddenly" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nR38z2Eb3hM] Back to the known with this guy. This
is his latest album, and on it, he has finally found the perfect mix of Progressive Trance and
Pop...notable, because the Pop doesn't overpower the trance like it does on 'Emotional Technology', and
BT's signature sound shines through. "Suddenly" is the catchiest song I've heard since...well, since
"Never Gonna Come Back Down" (it also sounds really damn good in a quality set of headphones). There
are even a couple of instrumentals thrown in--"Le Nocturne De Lumiere" is particularly beautiful--and a
few songs with more instruments than vocals. It can definitely serve as a good first choice for a BT
album (though I still suggest one of his first two), but either way, make sure you take the time to listen
to it.
7BT
If The Stars Are Eternal So Are You And I


["Our Dark Garden" - http://soundcloud.com/bt/our-dark-garden-final-mix] BT is supposed to be
releasing two or three albums this year (2012). This one is actually late; it was supposed to have been
released on June the 12th, but it has yet to see the light of day, and no word has been given about its
delay. BT says that it's a direct follow-up to 'This Binary Universe'. Let the hype begin.
8BT
Morceau Subrosa


["Nicht Musik" - http://soundcloud.com/bt/nicht-musik-verkl-rung-no-2-in] This one will also be released in
2012 sometime, as well. BT describes this one as an electro-acoustic ambient album free of beats. Let the
hype begin again.
9 BT
(untitled)


["Must Be The Love" (w/ Arti feat. Nadia Ali) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aotBGCA57oU] BT
says that this as-of-late untitled album is supposed to be a follow-up to 'These Hopeful Machines', and
may be released either this year or next. I'll be hyped for it, at least.
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