All That Makes Us Human Continues.

Brian Transeau, aka ‘BT’, is my favourite musical artist. In the same way that The Matrix is my favourite movie, this is an immutable fact, unmoved and unchanged by age and time.

Whilst I was over in the UK recently, my girlfriend messaged me to ask which of his songs I’d recommend to somebody who hadn’t heard his stuff before and that … is a difficult question. The man remains firmly in the ‘electronic music’ category, but has evolved, experimented, and changed so much across his career that it’s a really difficult question to answer.

The BT of the mid 90s sounds nothing like the BT of today, though if you listen to his music as much as I do you can certainly chart the evolution in some cases.

I decided that I wanted to sit down and put together a tracklist for this recommendation; one song per album if I can get away with it (unlikely, there are many excellent candidates) to introduce the music in a ‘safe’ zone and eventually expand out to some of the more experimental touches (personally some of my favourite tracks are the more experimental ones that would never grace a primetime radio show).

So, without further ado, let’s dive in …

Kimosabe – BT & Wildchild

There’s a reason this has the Need for Speed: Underground image. This was the first time that I knowingly heard BT for the first time. I was in my dorm room at University playing NFS: Underground on a hand-built PC. This track killed on this game. It was perfect for it in every way, but it stayed in my head afterwards. NFS:U had a killer soundtrack overall, so I got hold of it and that’s when I discovered the guy behind this track.

I was intrigued. I figured, if this one track is so damn good, what’s the rest of his stuff like?

Let’s journey back to the beginning.
I’ll be going with the more ‘accessible’ tracks from each album (at least the first few) to fit the brief set by my girlfriend, along with a ‘further listening’ choice for extra credits.

Album: Ima (1995)

Blue Skies – BT feat. Tori Amos

Extra: Divinity – BT

Album: ESCM (1997) [Electric Sky Church Music]

Flaming June – BT

Some say this is one of the finest pieces of trance music. Ever. Others disagree, but the others are wrong. There are many remixes of this track, but the original is the best. I got to hear BT’s own reimagined version of this, created with a live orchestra, at the Electronic Opus show in Miami in 2015, and I’m not ashamed to say I wept at how beautiful it was.

Extra: Memories in a Sea of Forgetfulness

Album: Movement in Still Life (1999)

Dreaming – BT feat. Kirsty Hawkshaw

Extra: Fibonacci Sequence – BT

Album: Emotional Technology (2003)

The story of this album is that its original version (perhaps intended to be named something else) was stolen, when BT’s studio was burglarized and the almost-completed album was taken along with all of the expensive equipment.

Emotional Technology is, if the story is true, an entirely different album from what had already been recorded. I’m also breaking my own rule here in including two different tracks to Kimosabe as linked above.

Superfabulous – BT feat. Rose McGowan

Extra: Somnambulist (Simply Being Loved)

Album: This Binary Universe (2006)

This was the first ‘experimental’ album by BT. It is entirely different from what’s gone before so, if you’ve enjoyed it, prepare to be challenged. If you’ve not, prepare to be relieved, or possibly even more befuddled. There’s a pitch-bent Furby in one of the tracks on the album.

Me? It’s one of my faves.

The Antikythera Mechanism – BT

Extra: All That Makes Us Human Continues

Album: These Hopeful Machines (2010)

This album could be said to be ‘reverting to type’, if there was a ‘type’ that BT would fit in. There isn’t of course, but this was much more accessible than TBU, and in fact was nominated for a Grammy, such was its positive reception.

I do, however, think that this album marked the beginning of BT melding the more ‘EDM’ accessible side of his repertoire with the incredible experimental music we first heard in This Binary Universe.

Suddenly – BT

Extra: Rose of Jericho

Album: If the Stars Are External So Are You and I (2012)

Another TBU type album here. I must admit, I actually struggle a little with some of the tracks on this album. However, it also contains one of my favourite and most evocative songs from his whole catalogue.

The Gathering Darkness – BT

13 Angels On My Broken Windowsill – BT

Album: Morceau Subrosa (2012)

The full title of this album is SUPPLEMENTO {BT: Volume 01. SERAPHIM 09.} NUOVO MORCEAU SUBROSA {A topological ABSTRACT of Granular Systems} [Symphonie elektronik].

This one is also very different from everything else. It’s one 46 minute track, and no, I won’t blame you if you don’t listen to all of this one on the first try.

Album: A Song Across Wires (2013)

Must Be The Love – BT, Arty, Nadia Ali

Extra: City Life – BT, Fractal & Bada

Album: _ (2016)

This album was intended to be untitled, but digital distribution meant something was needed, and so _ (underscore) was chosen. Of course, this makes it a nightmare to find online 😉

Artifacture – BT

Extra: The Code of Hammurabi

Further Listening

Enjoyed?
BT has also scored several films, TV series and shows, as well as remixed, produced, and collaborated with a metric ton of output as a result. Here’s more tracks I enjoy and would recommend.

Satellite (Electronic Opus Version) – BT

These Silent Hearts (Electronic Opus Version) – BT & Christian Burns

LSTM

The Noetic (with Matt Fax)

I Need Love (with Markus Schultz)

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