BT (Brian Transeau) - from yuck to awesome?

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Brian Transeau (aka BT) is a dude I don't know too much about. All I know is that I thought his song Flaming June was really cool, his stuff SOUNDED cool, and then he made a couple of crap albums (but they still SOUNDED good, if that makes any sense).

I'd written him off but then I picked up This Binary Universe and I was blown away. The reviews I've been able to find also love it but I've never heard of those sources before I I'd be interested in hearing what other folks here have to say.

I mean, I hear a little bit of Four Tet, a little bit of Ulrich Schnauss, a little ambient type stuff...all topped off with BT's trademark...sound effects I guess is what I'd call's just very nicely blended together. It's "mature" if that's any good as a descriptor, which is the last thing I expected from him.

So anyway, love to hear your thoughts on this one.

Wookie Rookie (Wookie Rookie), Wednesday, 4 October 2006 02:45 (twelve years ago) link

good to see the dude has moved beyond producing tommy lee reality programs and back into music.

gear (gear), Wednesday, 4 October 2006 03:06 (twelve years ago) link

can you send me a promo?

HUNTA-V (vahid), Wednesday, 4 October 2006 03:12 (twelve years ago) link

ha ha

Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Wednesday, 4 October 2006 04:35 (twelve years ago) link

do a search on 'wookie rookie' and while you'll unfortunately also dig up anything stupid i may have said before, you'll also see that i'm not a shill. is it that i don't seem jaded enough? i guess i can work on that.

Wookie Rookie (Wookie Rookie), Wednesday, 4 October 2006 04:58 (twelve years ago) link

I didn't think you were a streetteamer, but I liked the idea that it was plausible that even a BT streetteamer would admit that he'd made a couple of crap albums.

Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Wednesday, 4 October 2006 05:04 (twelve years ago) link

surely even BT must know it!

which BT track did Carl Craig remix again?

Konal Doddz (blueski), Wednesday, 4 October 2006 08:16 (twelve years ago) link

the first 4 tracks on movement in the Breaks tracks..were damn good...and yep - inseanely good production -i wonder how much of it was down to andy page

toe-foo (toe-foo), Wednesday, 4 October 2006 09:53 (twelve years ago) link


And as for the production - tricksy-dicksy and overly fussy don't equal good, as far as I'm concerned.

Clumsy Colin in ACTION BIKER (coach_mcguirk), Wednesday, 4 October 2006 18:01 (twelve years ago) link

the video promo on his myspace page is some of the most pretentious wankery i've ever seen--looks like the promo for a freakin spielberg film. ""... bollox.

use of symphonic sounds to signify import = total fucking dud, the kind of shit that people who can't tell the difference between sound and whatever received notion that sound is supposed to stand for. (like, dead white european dudes. come to think of it, he's almost there!)

champ should change his name to "we've got a plugin and we're gonna use it"... it's the kind of thing that makes me wish, just for once, that moore's law would hit a brick wall, just so mofos like him would stop leaning back on processing power to cover up their actual creative vapidness. musically speaking, it's kinda windham hill for the protools set, innit?

(btw, video #2 is totally bitten from MEAM, the guys that do video work for bola. 'cept this one sucks.)

philip sherburne (philip sherburne), Wednesday, 4 October 2006 20:03 (twelve years ago) link

I've heard that album and it's not something I'd play often. One thing he's very good at is the use of dynamics and some very novel ideas, but it's more of a collage than a coherent piece of music. The jazz stuff is terrible. However, I don't buy the idea that he is somehow "creatively vapid" - he's into the exact same art of self-absorbed technical wankery as Villalobos, Craig and Fake (with the difference that those guys have less pretentious marketing).

Siegbran (eofor), Wednesday, 4 October 2006 20:27 (twelve years ago) link

'Never Gonna Come Bakc Down' is one of the worst songs of all time but i will always rep for 'Ima'

Konal Doddz (blueski), Wednesday, 4 October 2006 20:30 (twelve years ago) link

I love "Never Gonna Come Back Down"!

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn (Alfred Soto), Wednesday, 4 October 2006 20:40 (twelve years ago) link

frosted-tip trance

Matos-Webster Dictionary (M Matos), Wednesday, 4 October 2006 20:43 (twelve years ago) link

"big-time photic driving"

gabbneb (gabbneb), Wednesday, 4 October 2006 20:57 (twelve years ago) link

i will always rep for 'Ima'

Ima was a great album.

Brigadier Lethbridge-Pfunkboy (Kerr), Wednesday, 4 October 2006 21:06 (twelve years ago) link

Relativity was mixed by Carl Craig.

carl craig (brother loves dub), Wednesday, 4 October 2006 21:17 (twelve years ago) link

Judie Tzuke > BT remixing Judie Tzuke

Curt1s St3ph3ns, Wednesday, 4 October 2006 21:32 (twelve years ago) link

What was the big single from Movement In Still Life that wasn't "Never Gonna Come Back Down"? I liked it whenever it was. I always associate it with the early Hybrid singles.

Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Wednesday, 4 October 2006 22:58 (twelve years ago) link

i have to say i can't disagree with anything folks have said here.

i guess i excuse a lot when the production is good. and his production, if that's even the term i'm supposed to be using, blows me away. it's stuff that makes me turn around in disbelief and stare at my speakers sometimes. like those symphonic sounds philip mentioned above, towards the end of that song it's like he's bending and twisting the symphony until it's about to snap.

anyway, i always wished that he'd just drop his weak pop leanings and just concentrate on what he does best, which he seems to have finally done.

Wookie Rookie (Wookie Rookie), Thursday, 5 October 2006 01:35 (twelve years ago) link

didn't he have a hit song with the guy from soul coughing a while back?

Christopher Costello (CGC), Thursday, 5 October 2006 02:42 (twelve years ago) link

didn't he have a hit song with the guy from soul coughing a while back?

"Never Gonna Come Back Down." I loved it, but only for Doughty's vocals. (, Thursday, 5 October 2006 02:45 (twelve years ago) link

search 'blue skies'! with tori amos!

i don't really know the rest even though i seem to recall i owned ima for a while.

The Lex (The Lex), Thursday, 5 October 2006 09:29 (twelve years ago) link

wait i thought it was Gavin Rossdale singing on 'Never Gonna Come Back Down'

'delphinium days mix' of blue skies = epic-est house ever

Konal Doddz (blueski), Thursday, 5 October 2006 09:33 (twelve years ago) link

I am a sucker for any song with digital stutters all over the vocals, so "Somnambulist" kills me.

JJRJ (jjrj), Thursday, 5 October 2006 11:49 (twelve years ago) link

i have lost track of BT over the years but this new album seems to picking up some high ratings on

DJ Martian (djmartian), Friday, 6 October 2006 18:39 (twelve years ago) link

SEARCH: N'sync's "POP"!!!

I.M. From Hollywood (i_m_from_hollywood), Friday, 6 October 2006 19:29 (twelve years ago) link

vahid : herbert :: phillip + matos : bt

HUNTA-V (vahid), Saturday, 7 October 2006 00:08 (twelve years ago) link

BT seems like a bit of an easy target, really. Why bother hating him? It's so much more fun to hate someone that some thinking people actually like.

But for the fact that he's wrong, Vahid's hatred of Herbert is more sympathetic.

Tim Finney (Tim Finney), Sunday, 8 October 2006 21:50 (twelve years ago) link

BT seems like a bit of an easy target, really. Why bother hating him?

True. Despite everything, he ain't Moby.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Sunday, 8 October 2006 21:59 (twelve years ago) link

"stop killing animals & love jesus. -bt"

Curt1s St3ph3ns, Sunday, 8 October 2006 22:25 (twelve years ago) link

five years pass...

I'm getting totally confused by Ima - whats the point of doing some individual tracks, then a giant mix which is mostly new stuff but also has some of the tracks you've already heard?

frogbs, Monday, 24 October 2011 15:24 (seven years ago) link

it's called "the 90s", tbh

do not wake the dragon (DJP), Monday, 24 October 2011 15:36 (seven years ago) link

It's mixed by Sasha right? If you don't get the point of the mixed version, you don't get dance music. It was only on the deluxe edition anyway so you had a choice of buying the Sasha mix or just the album.

brotherlovesdub, Monday, 24 October 2011 16:00 (seven years ago) link

Mine is just "Nocturnal Transmission", "Quark", "Tripping the Light Fantastic", "Sasha's Voyage of Ima", and "Divinity". So if some of these were seperate tracks at some point (like the one that keeps going "I am loving youuu" over and over and over again) I don't have them. BTW I like the idea of the continuous mix but I don't get why you'd do seperate tracks and then a mix which includes stuff you've already heard. Plus Sasha kinda ruins it by making the last 20 minutes or so sound like its completely underwater which is hell on my ears.

frogbs, Monday, 24 October 2011 16:17 (seven years ago) link

I think that one is Loving You More. Seems like you're missing some tracks if that's all disc 2 has. Pretty sure Blue Skies should be on there too.

brotherlovesdub, Monday, 24 October 2011 16:29 (seven years ago) link

no, that's the only disc I got. until now I didn't know there were 2 releases (or more, apparently?)

frogbs, Monday, 24 October 2011 16:33 (seven years ago) link

brotherlovesdub, Monday, 24 October 2011 16:37 (seven years ago) link

If you like BT and buy vinyl, it's worth tracking down this 12".

It's BT plus a couple other guys but it's (Entropy) one of the best progressive house tracks from that era.

brotherlovesdub, Monday, 24 October 2011 16:39 (seven years ago) link

aha - I see now. as I figured the Sasha mix has all the three preceding tracks on it (on my version). this is what I got:

frogbs, Monday, 24 October 2011 16:41 (seven years ago) link

you want that other version, "Blue Skies" is great

do not wake the dragon (DJP), Monday, 24 October 2011 16:44 (seven years ago) link

I like the BT track with Richard Butler on vocals.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Monday, 24 October 2011 16:45 (seven years ago) link

Yeah, that track with Richard Butler is great. From some soundtrack right? Remember a few good tracks on that.

brotherlovesdub, Monday, 24 October 2011 17:04 (seven years ago) link

"blue skies" is amazing - loved the story of how it came about (bt and tori amos getting drunk together then searching across london for a studio to record in, and eventually breaking into the sony one - she does sound completely pissed tbh; and apparently none of the lines appear in the order she sung them in)

lex pretend, Monday, 24 October 2011 21:37 (seven years ago) link

" After being introduced by mutual friends, Brian Transeau and Tori Amos discovered they had much in common personally, and subsequently collaborated professionally in the mid-1990s. “Blue Skies” came about after Amos sent Transeau a DAT of her singing improvised lyrics over “Divinity” from BT’s debut album. Transeau created a new instrumental foundation and edited Amos’ extemporaneous vocals into a structured song."

maybe this account skips a few steps.

brotherlovesdub, Monday, 24 October 2011 21:40 (seven years ago) link

Deep Dish were on fire then. Their Blue Skies mix, Give Me Luv mixes and Stay Gold 12" were what made me a fan.

brotherlovesdub, Monday, 24 October 2011 21:43 (seven years ago) link

Not sure if I heard Hideaway or Give Me Luv first, but they're linked in my mind.

brotherlovesdub, Monday, 24 October 2011 21:45 (seven years ago) link

oh i think maybe th estory i was thinking of was for bt's remix of her "talula" single?

"What I did for the Talula single was scat, recording over the original vocals. I was in Holland to do tele with my guys, specifically with Marcel, and Rob. Mark was working on setting things up for the tour. The Dutch just came to hang. This all actually started in London. BT and I were having dinner and he was telling me about these people who chase tornados and all this stuff about the Internet, which I don't understand. Why would someone go on there just to make up lies about me? I don't get it, it sounds like a sport, I mean feed the Christians to the lions, or like, gladiators where one of them has to die, it's nuts. All I know is BT was telling me about a page, a web, or something, where everyone talks about chasing tornados. Real people who jump in their Jeeps, cars, or on bicycles, and start racing toward these tornados with video cameras. I just started singing, 'He's chasing tornados, I'm just waiting calmly, he's chasing her'. We were with a guy named Spence from Perfecto Records too. BT said, 'What the hell was that?,' and I said, it's the new opening line for the Talula Tornado mix. We both looked down at our plates, BT looked at me and said, 'screw the spaghetti, lets record.' So we smuggle a bottle of wine out of the restaurant, rush to a black cab, and go studio hunting. We show up at EastWest. I knock on the door and we say, 'It's us,' and the security guard asks 'Is it OK' and I say, 'Of course it's fucking OK,' he was nice to us then. So we are working off the label's phone trying to find a studio. We're not having any luck, then Spence remembers a friend that has an old studio in his house, near Ladbrooke Grove. So we call him, race down in another cab, it's one or two in the morning by then. I do a scratch vocal so I can remember it, and take it with me. It sounded like shit but it wasn't supposed to sound like anything, it was only reference. I knew I was going to have to do it again, but I was leaving the country the next day to go to Spain. Anyway, when I got to Holland, I tried to record it again but I only had seven minutes and it still sounded like shit. So I said, 'Come on Marcel, I've gotta go back in the studio, make it work, I have to do it right.' So I went to Germany, then back to Holland for another TV show. After dinner that night, ten or eleven o'clock, Marcel and I went to a studio about 40 minutes out of Amsterdam, and sang the Tornado mix over Talula. I didn't even have the CD, I had to borrow a copy of Pele from someone, and sang to it. The DAT was about 15 or 20 minutes of me just scatting over the album track. I rushed that to BT in London, and so he's using it for the 20 minute dance mix. Just adding to it what I made up, and the part about chasing tornados."

lex pretend, Monday, 24 October 2011 21:48 (seven years ago) link

two years pass...

He's been real busy the last 2-3 years. Anyone hear any of this stuff?

frogbs, Thursday, 3 April 2014 17:54 (five years ago) link

Last I really heard of him was These Hopeful Machines, which is a bit outside that window, but I completely loved about half the tracks. He uses elements of everything he's previously worked on in it - guitar rock, trance, orchestral, pop - often within the same song. Sometimes that indulgence works and sometimes it doesn't, but the best tracks on it are the best stuff he's ever done. I also briefly checked out If the Stars Are Eternal, which I think was a sequel of sorts to This Binary Universe (this dude and his album titles... hard to type them out without rmde), but it was too slight for me to give it a second listen.

Vinnie, Thursday, 3 April 2014 19:07 (five years ago) link

two years pass...

Ok so I just gave a listen to ELECTRONIC OPUS and hoooly shit, this has got to be the most overwrought and utterly contrived thing I've ever heard. maximum everything, all the's an ornate little orchestral section, then WOMP WOMP WOMP here's some FUCKING DANCE MUSIC then lets bring the singer in and GLITCH THE HELL OUT OF THIS VOCAL and now here are some more strings and piano and MORTAL KOMBAT!!!!! AHHHHHHH!!! And then some real pretty stuff too. It's fuckin hilarious too, like literally making me laugh out loud at the most absurd parts, and you know what? I think I actually...really like it? I mean this dude is utterly insane, but it's something I can get behind. Its probably disappointing if you're expecting some sort of orchestrated take on his greatest hits, when it's really just REMIX!!! TO THE EXTREME!!!

frogbs, Tuesday, 24 January 2017 23:14 (two years ago) link

Haha I'll have to check it out. It's easy to understand why nobody on ILX is really into him (and god, his fans act as if he is the world's only musician), but I think his excesses are often interesting detours. I do wish he would combine his excesses more creatively - usually it's like one section of this genre, then one section of another, as opposed to actual cross pollination. Yeah contrived is the right word for it. I still haven't heard anything from him as good as the good half of These Hopeful Machines

Vinnie, Wednesday, 25 January 2017 10:48 (two years ago) link

I remember Muzik putting Ima at #5 in their best dance albums ever list in like 2002 or something and raising an eyebrow but I still don't think I've ever bothered to listen to anything he's released. Always assumed he was essentially the breaks version of Sasha & Digweed or something and really life's too short.

Matt DC, Wednesday, 25 January 2017 11:09 (two years ago) link

two years pass...

hes got a new album with Christian Burns out now under the name All Hail the Silence. it's a 84 minute synthpop album and clearly a childhood dream but man, I'll definitely be voting for this at the end of the year. analog synths, overwrought vocals, bad it's like the 80s all over again. even the videos are kind of hilarious, I mean you can picture the director saying "yell louder!! no, louder!! Brian, we need five more shots of you smirking and bobbing your head!!!"

frogbs, Thursday, 7 February 2019 16:13 (six months ago) link

Thanks for the tip! I'm digging this so far.

DJI, Thursday, 7 February 2019 16:54 (six months ago) link

I probably like him most in synth pop mode, but the AHTS EP left me cold. May check the album out tho

Vinnie, Friday, 8 February 2019 10:55 (six months ago) link

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