Relentless Beats

Progressive Past: Looking Back At BT’s ‘These Hopeful Machines’

To mention even a sliver of BT’s career could be dangerous to anyone’s journalistic integrity: in order to even mention a percentage of what he has done would require a complete authorized non-fiction biography that could go over his entire discography involving film scores, video game soundtracks, compilations, extended plays, and numerous studio albums containing diverse production with the “BT” stamp of approval. Unlike many artists on wikipedia, he even has a separate discography page because his original article could not contain it all. In honor of his show on August 13th at Monarch Theater in Phoenix, we will be taking a look at one of his most cohesive pieces of work, the Grammy-winning These Hopeful Machines. As the All-Music publication review states, the album is not meant to convert the non-believers, but is focused on “rewarding” the faithful for their dedication. These Hopeful Machines possesses forward-thinking elements that were unprecedented in dance in 2010; during this time, ‘EDM’ was just becoming an umbrella term and entering the mainstream, while house was trying to sanctify its connection and hash it all out with old-school techno.

What we hear on These Hopeful Machines is indeed someone who surpassed their genre with clever production values that could get cozy with the year of 2016 than many popular artists who were attempting the same elements currently, and in the past. “But RB, what about the lyrics?” Let’s not kid ourselves: dance music has truly never been completely reliant on possessing heart-wrenching lyrics from its originators, and relying on what makes those lyrics fit into the sound of the production. You are correct, hypothetical reader! You will find some lyrics that might not be Shakespeare, but what truly makes THM a masterpiece, is the careful attention paid to the inclusion of trance mixed with house, that makes it honestly, progressive.

These Hopeful Machines (Full Continous Mix)

There are some tracks like “Forget Me,” which almost appear out of nowhere, combining an intro-guitar riff that gives it a modern, sophisticated pop vibe than anything else. The male vocals contributed almost reflect a Jared Leto type of vibration that almost would seem out of place in something with any less maturity. What makes this album polarizing, isn’t certainly the genres being explored on paper, but the final product to what the album would become. These Hopeful Machines could be best described as “adult contemporary dance music.” Take away the blaring synths, the coo-ing vocals, and the genre similarities, and with that, we are presented with a very musically mature artwork that will please older music-goers with complicated riffs and a musical growth that was definitely unprecedented in an environment where sounds get old a little too fast. Be sure to catch BT on August 13th, 2016, at Monarch Theater. BT, or be square!

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