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BT - Mad Skillz BT

Album Reviews

CDNOW Movement In Still Life Album Review

Brian Transeau has never been afraid to mix it up, to leap from genre to genre within the same album. While his contemporaries often remain fixated on one particular style, Transeau's mind wanders with the intensity and vigor of a young child. Movement in Still Life -- BT's third full-length -- couples an arsenal of excellent collaborators with Transeau's own seasoned studio wisdom for a delightfully erratic set of tunes ranging from blunted hip-hop to orgasmic trance.

Upon hearing "Madskillz-Mic Chekka" -- the spastic leadoff track that melds dancehall, hip-hop, and Crystal Method-like breaks -- it's rather apparent that Transeau wants to even further distance himself from his trance roots than he did on 1997's E.S.C.M. Thankfully, the further he strays, the better the music gets. "Never Gonna Come Back Down" pounds with live drums, a Chemical-esque bass line, and the spontaneous lyrical presence of Soul Coughing's M. Doughty, while Rasco's rhymes flow over some wicked, rock-inflected grooves on "Love on Haight Street."

Trance hasn't completely left the picture. Movement has powerful anthems, including "Dreaming," "Godspeed," and the gorgeous "Running the Down Way Up," a track where Transeau weaves hints of acoustic guitar into a throbbing groove that's topped with soothing vocals from Kirsty Hawkshaw. Transeau once again steps to the mike on this record, more than making up for E.S.C.M.'s miserable Nine Inch Nails impersonation, "Solar Plexus." On Movement's "Shame" and "Satellite," Transeau sings with a Morrissey-like restraint and crafts tunes that respectfully mimic such heroes as New Order and Depeche Mode, right down to the faux British accent.

Many artists try their hand at varying stylistically within the same album, but often fail miserably. With Movement in Still Life, BT has turned out one of those rare albums that actually pulls it off.

Peter Gaston
CDNOW Editorial Staff

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