BT
This Binary Universe


4.5
superb

Review

by Eli EMERITUS
March 5th, 2011 | 120 replies | 20,007 views


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Simply stunning. A beautiful, engrossing album filled to the brim with style, elegance, and poise.

Until discovering This Binary Universe, I had only enjoyed BT in passing--a frivolous enjoyment of his eccentric yet thoughtful rave infused melodies. I quickly passed off his most recent affair, These Hopeful Machines as a novel, if not bloated album, chock full of sounds and music that frankly I didn’t quite fully understand (and still don‘t for that matter). But in giving BT another chance, I’ve stumbled upon a bold, yet quietly brilliant album; a record that defines Brian Transeau as an artist, rather than the disgustingly glamorous man behind the moniker.

And that’s ultimately what makes This Binary Universe feel so compelling--it’s starkly personal. Enough so, that Transeau created an original computer program, just for this record. However, the main thing to take away from the album is how organic it really feels. Yes that sounds a little silly describing an electronica album--a genre seen as cold and artificial--but it’s most definitely fitting when you hear the pattering of rain against piano keys, or the dramatic swelling of strings and percussion. And while it’s true that anyone can throw a litany of elements into some genre bending and call it “revolutionary,” it take an actual musician to make it work, and sound so natural as well. However, BT does just that, as if the fantastically complex and emotionally arresting album that This Binary Universe is, simply leapt from his mind and onto some score sheets.

This Binary Universe, while clearly a minimalist outing, is fascinatingly thematic. It’s the more classical side of BT, full of beauty and bombast, played to those who want to quietly savor an album while it simmers and stews in their mind. Like Kashiwa Daisuke’s 2007 Program Music I, the album is built on very lengthy compositions (although not nearly of the same length as said record), with emphasis on strings and piano, as well a glitchy aesthetics. It’s truly an electronica affair at heart, but there’s quite a bit more here than that, with the album literally oozing style at every turn. It’s obvious the ex-Berkley School of Music student knows his stuff, with This Binary Universe featuring a multitude of instruments and sounds. From common strings to mis-wired children’s toys, the album is filled to the brim with styles both strange and conventional.

The album opens with “All That Makes Us Human Continues,” arguably the most beautiful of the record. It’s lush and serene, a track steeped in hopeful emotions and starry-eyed wonder. It feels so natural, and so wonderful, even though the ambient intro and subtle guitar driven mid-section is nothing spectacularly unique. Yet the way it is played out, the way it feels is something that truly is marvelous. Engrossing moments like these aren’t in short supply, as they are literally sprinkled everywhere, enough so, that it’s nigh impossible to go into any sort of great detail. Whether it be the dramatic string lead middle of “The Internal Locus,” or the almost danceable “1.618,” there’s just an insurmountable amount of memorable moments. “The Anhtkythera Mechanism” stands out as the most shockingly boisterous piece. The ending borders on chaotic, with an orchestral section playing menacingly, right before an unpredictable glitch-filled breakdown. Although each tune has it‘s fair share of greatness, it‘s “Good Morning Kaia” that stands out among the rest. Written for his daughter, the song is the most light-hearted and hopefully jovial on the entire record. It swells and bursts like a post rock track, with a lush piano melody played throughout. It’s simply a phenomenal song, and one that closes out the album perfectly.

Perhaps this reviewer has given This Binary Universe, and ultimately BT himself, too much credit. Maybe this isn’t as groundbreaking or revolutionary as has been told. After all, the electronic/neo-classical shtick has been done before, and with a far greater following than this. However, this isn’t a simple musician playing to his fans, nor is it a man trying so desperately to prove something, but rather, this is the sound of an artist playing for himself. This is BT at his most profound, something not seen before, and something that may very well not be seen again. Perhaps it was a spark; a wildfire of inspiration that gave birth to This Binary Universe. Regardless of what it was, it is an album that for those who embrace its dreamy, enveloping sounds cape, will have a difficult time ever forgetting it.



Recent reviews by this author
Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) You Will Eventually Be ForgottenSaintseneca Dark Arc
Have a Nice Life The Unnatural WorldThee Silver Mount Zion Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything
Fell Voices Regnum SaturniHammock Oblivion Hymns
user ratings (161)
Chart.
4.4
superb

Comments:Add a Comment 
Xenophanes
Emeritus
March 6th 2011



10592 Comments


This really, really needed a review, and honestly deserves a much better one than this.

Either way I fucking love this album, and a huuuuuuge shout out to Yotimi who brought this to my attention.

sifFlammable
March 6th 2011



2741 Comments


Nice work and pos (and shoutout to yotimi from me too haha).

My one gripe with the album was that some of its songs were using the same structural formulas - starting off mildly and then ending with chaos. Cool album overall


Masochist
March 6th 2011



8002 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This really, really needed a review


Yes, oh yes it did.

I listen to this album more than any other electronica album I have, save for perhaps BT's 'Movement In Still Life' (if you couldn't tell, BT's my favorite electronic artist). Amazing album, this is.

Digging: He Is Legend - Heavy Fruit

Yotimi
March 6th 2011



6462 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sweet dude and good review. I'm glad you liked it this much.

Digging: Millie and Andrea - Drop The Vowels

Manic_
March 6th 2011



447 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

amazing album. i'm surprised it never had a review before, will read now.

FreePizzaDay
March 6th 2011



1526 Comments


This album takes me places. One weekend I spend three days doing nothing but watching Futurama and listening to this.

Rev
March 6th 2011



9404 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I helped bring it to your attention :/

lancebramsay
March 6th 2011



1585 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pos'd

I'm checking this out now, I love me some minimalist electronic music.

I liked all of this review except for the first 3 sentences in the last paragraph. Why would you discredit everything you just said?

FreePizzaDay
March 6th 2011



1526 Comments


"I helped bring it to your attention :/"

Who me? Or the reviewer?

Acanthus
March 6th 2011



9537 Comments


Cool something new to check out!

Pos'd

Tyrael
March 6th 2011



20822 Comments


The album opens with “All That Makes Us Human Continues,” arguably the most beautiful of the
record.

Something feels iffy about this sentence...
Perhaps this reviewer has given This Binary Universe, and ultimately BT himself, too much
credit.

Nah. Pos.

crazyblinddude
March 6th 2011



3389 Comments


Sick review for a sick album. I'm glad it was you who got to do it.

TheArkitecht
March 6th 2011



1672 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Incredible album and awesome review, pos'd.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
March 6th 2011



31072 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

as well a glitchy aesthetics.


it‘s “Good Morning Kaia” stands out among the rest.


Missing "that" between 'Kaia' and stands

This is BT at his most profound,


No, that would be Ima ;)

Digging: Banks - Goddess

scissorlocked
March 6th 2011



3509 Comments


this is amazing. I haven't listened to it for a year

great work with the review Xeno

Digging: Leon Vynehall - Music For The Uninvited

WashboardSuds
March 6th 2011



4992 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

great review, pos'd

both this and that Kashiwa Daisuke album you recommend are awesome

Digging: Gas - Nah und Fern

pizzamachine
March 6th 2011



12571 Comments


You've done it again Xeno!

Gyromania
March 6th 2011



15480 Comments


This is BT at his most profound,

Agree with Dev, Ima's pretty much a classic. Excellent review though Elijah, I'm glad to see that you're taking an active interest in more electronica music.



Tyrael
March 6th 2011



20822 Comments


Gyro sighting!
Ima's better yeah.

Rev
March 6th 2011



9404 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Fantastic review for a fantastic album, good job man



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy