5.0 out of 5 stars Great
I bought this as a gift and the recipient assures me it is brilliant! Fast and efficient service. Very pleased.
Published 11 months ago by Lucille
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hit and Miss.
Let's be clear - I am a big fan of BT. ESCM was a revelation, and opened my eyes to dance music and electronica in general. With that said, I'm not prone to gushing about everything he - or anyone else - does. So, These Hopeful Machines...
I met BT a few years back, around the time This Binary Universe came out. I found that album mixed - the production and...
Published on 18 Feb 2010 by Andrew C
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hit and Miss.,
This review is from: These Hopeful Machines (Audio CD)Let's be clear - I am a big fan of BT. ESCM was a revelation, and opened my eyes to dance music and electronica in general. With that said, I'm not prone to gushing about everything he - or anyone else - does. So, These Hopeful Machines...
I met BT a few years back, around the time This Binary Universe came out. I found that album mixed - the production and sound design were, unsurprisingly, incredible, but there simply wasn't enough of interest to justify the long running times. It was nice, but (and I apologise for this) he didn't have the compositional chops to carry it off. At the time he said that his next album would be straight up dance music. "Great!", I thought.
Several years later, here it is - and I'm a bit underwhelmed. The production and sound design are, once again, simply amazing. There are some truly great moments, but the running times are simply too long. Some of the choruses are truly anthemic, but are repeated too often. I was bored with the chorus of the opening track by the end of the first listen. Not good. Many of the lyrics are of high-school grade, and I found the vocal performances grating. BT himself doesn't have a *great* voice, and some of the asthmatic-12-year-old female performances are truly cringe worthy. Oh, and having your child sing a chorus (with the benefit of much time and pitch correction) while twinkly toy glockenspiels play? Please...
Overall, it feels like it's trying to be everything at once - there are straight-up dance anthems, as well as grungy guitars and nods to rock anthems à la U2. Sorry, it just doesn't hang together.
Nonetheless, I am still listening to it, and there's a lot to like here. It certainly continues BT's track record of pushing the boundaries of just what can be done with all this lovely audio-mangling technology, and for my money, that alone makes it worth buying.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Still hopeful of much better things to come.......,
This review is from: These Hopeful Machines (Audio CD)It is immediately apparent upon reading the many reviews of "These Hopeful Machines" ("THM") that a chasm exisits within the BT camp - with some hailing a return to form, others (as my title suggests), simply left still waiting! I suppose that such a split in opinion can be most readily explained by the previously displayed diversity of the artist's work - THM bares little or no resemblence to BT's previous offering - This Binary Universe, being more akin in writing style to say "Emotional Technology" with vocals playing a key role in all but a couple of tracks and the writing format assuming a much more traditional verse, chorus styling as opposed to BT's more traditional "freeform" method of composition. Therein for me (an avid fan of all things Mr Transeau) resides the key issue and ultimate disappointment with this CD - "tradition". For when has BT resembled or produced anything traditional? IMA and his masterpiece "ESCM" where in every way unique pieces of work taking snippets of multiple musical genres (and I mean "multiple"), mixing them with quite a few of his own and finally blending them seamlessly together, smoother than the most innocent five a day smoothie! ESCM was a truely progressive piece of work (as was TBU) in the sense that it was nigh impossible to afford any label or tag to a work that encompassed and embraced so many musical genres, even the cover design and sleeve notes could only hint of the etherial majesty that awaited within!
Some years I (and a few great CD's) later THM arrived on my doorstep and although this time somewhat reticent by the choice of cover design, I could not wait to regenerate my auditory senses and indulge. The outcome (some 2 hours later) was deep disappointment not to mention a degree of bewidlerment. I actually thought that "This Binary Universe" (the highly acclaimed predessor) would have served as the precursor to what would be BT's ESCM of the new decade, even the millennium! How wrong I was. Gone are the totally unformatted, classical style arrangements, the crystaline moments that demand you re-play again and again until finally the penny drops (BT was never meant to be an easy listen). Gone is the space, those little gaps, (both preludes and interludes) that were filled with notes of emotion. Gone even are the true BT anthems that merged and squeezed dance with rock ("Satellite", "Flaming June" to name but two). I'd even go as far as to say that it was near distrubing to be reminded vocally of Byran Adams throughout (BT's voice does bare a semblence), the Sugerbabes (in "Every other way" for me the album's best moment) and (heaven forbid) Royksopp ("Rose of Jericho").
For those that afforded this 5 stars, yes, there are moments, snippets even of the genius that I believe still lies within, but, ultimately THM is a step backwards for BT, there is little if anything here that nudges, (let alone pushes) any musical boundaries. The tracks do not merge as before, there is little musical ebb and flow it's as if they were composed months apart then cut and pasted in random order (this is a first for BT and hopefully a last). When reviewing This Binary Universe Stephen Fortner, Technical Editor at Keyboard Magazine wrote "...mind-bendingly deep but a pleasure to kick back and just listen to. In a hundred years, it could well be studied as the first major electronic work of the new millennium. It's that good."
How can a recording go from "mind-bendingly deep" to, well just OK?? I just hope we don't have to wait that long for BT to finally produce a worthy succesor. Until then, I'm still waiting, hopeful of much better things to come.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great,
This review is from: These Hopeful Machines (Audio CD)I bought this as a gift and the recipient assures me it is brilliant! Fast and efficient service. Very pleased.
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing album,
This review is from: These Hopeful Machines (Audio CD)Really awesome stuff is this album, all different types of music but every song has something special about it, can understand why this was grammy nominated. Ghost In You, the final track of the album, is just perfect, great vocals and beautiful acoustic elements. Do yourself a favour and give this album a listen :)
2.0 out of 5 stars Not really what I thought,
This review is from: These Hopeful Machines (MP3 Download)I was expecting more from BT. There are 1 or 2 tracks that I like in this album.
I hope the next one will be better.
Unfortunately some of the tracks does remind me of X Factor songs.
4.0 out of 5 stars BT is the man, SIMPLE. TOP Album,
This review is from: These Hopeful Machines (Audio CD)HUGE fan of BT, BT's cutting edge and inventive techniques of making tracks always wow me. This album was a bit of a dissapointment but hey no one is perfect and the production of every track is great. I have no idea why he went all vocals, some of the vocal tracks towards the end of the album are just horrible, i try to just listen to the track and ignore the vocals.Apart from that its brilliant. ROSE of Jericho always gets me going!
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this one :),
This review is from: These Hopeful Machines (Audio CD)I got this CD for my birthday and I must say i really love it.
Not soo much into BT, liked a few of the songs from previous albums but this one took me by surprise.
My fav songs are - Suddenly, The Emergency, The Light in Things, Rose of Jericho, Forget Me, A Million Stars,Le Nocturne De Lumiere and The Unbreakable.
Definitely a good present according to me.
5.0 out of 5 stars BT Rocks,
This review is from: These Hopeful Machines (Audio CD)I read Andrew C's review before i bought this CD and for some reason i guess when it arrived i wasnt expecting much.
Roll back the clock to 95/96? IMA....wow, what a CD, got me into trance that album was and still is amazing.
Have followed BT for the last 14 years or so and i have to admit his music has always given me goose bumps. ESCM gave us a mix of classical rock and trance, MISL added some hip hop which worked a treat!
My opinion on this new CD is quite simple, yes its kinda nothin new, emotional technology pt2 but jeeeeeeeez its so good! Why change or do something different just to be different? BT has totally spoilt us with this CD, its amazing, true BT fans will love it.
Yes This Binary Universe is a fantastic sound track, this new album is on a different level so enjoy :)
5.0 out of 5 stars BT does it again!,
This review is from: These Hopeful Machines (Audio CD)I have always loved BT's music and I didn't know what to expect from his new CD. However, if you like BT's style you'll definitely love this. It has the typical classic trance floaty tracks, but also mixed with a couple of rocky songs too. All in all you won't be disappointed!
3.0 out of 5 stars Over-indulgent with variable substance - but listenable!,
This review is from: These Hopeful Machines (MP3 Download)I only received my copy yesterday but have played twice, plus a few tracks a few more times (as there were only a few I really liked).
2 discs and only 12 tracks, hmmmm. This can either herald excellence worth every minute of your (and his) time, or something more suspect. I agree with most reviews here that unfortunately it veers towards the latter.
Yes, there are some trance anthems in their infancy here, but he's done most of this before, and usually better. The Jez vocals grate for me, and the lyrical repetition is plain lazy. Even Kirsty Hawkshaw's vocal offering on "A Million Stars" sounds lack-lustre and overly breathy (and I usually like her vocals).
And yes, there are too many tracks with him taking lead vocals, and almost every track here is too long.
Barry Adamson made a similar mistake of including his son in a vocal a couple of albums back, and it was simply cringe-worthy. It's a risk only to be taken when the material requires it, and you are sure noone else could've sung it better! Maybe that's a bit harsh, but in both cases it lets the track down big time (Sorry Brian / Barry).
There is some good stuff here, and I like the occasional rock injection, albeit a little formulaic here. Also he dabbles with dubstep and d'n'b breaks (again), but on previous albums (like the album mix of "Remember") it worked well. Now it seems a bit stale. "Suddenly" is one of the strongest songs here, but the second half includes treated chorus lines ad infinitum, and arguably it should fade at around 6 minutes tops!
I couldn't get into his ambient soundtrack-like material atall, so was looking forward to this new double, but am a tad disappointed. If this is the first of his album's you've bought, don't be put off as IMA and ESCM are far better, but he has every right to stretch his wings a bit now and then. Hopefully he'll just ensure they are duly trimmed for the next flight of fancy though!
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