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BT - Mad Skillz BT

Album Reviews

MTV Movement In Still Life Album Review

Some musicians find a sound and stick to it -- usually until it goes out of style, whereupon theyıre screwed. No such future for BT. Movement in Still Lifeis a wildly effervescent, effortless sonic bouillabaisse that works dance, rock, hip-hop, pop, new age, trance, house, you-name-it simultaneously and makes it look easy.

BT, a/k/a Brian Transeau, takes a similar approach to his career; his projects have included the soundtracks for the films Go and Under Suspicion, and Sony Play Stationıs "Die Hard" game, as well as working with Peter Gabriel to arrange the music for Britainıs New Year 2000 celebration and remixing everyone from Madonna to Tori Amos to Sarah McLachlan.)

This is a disc that straps you in and takes you for one of those roller coaster rides that turns you upside down, performs a loop-de-loop, and drops you a hundred screaming-all-the-way feet. Itıs a sonic extravaganza of samples, lush, percolating beats and guest vocals that lend each track a different personality.

Movementıs heaviest and most intensely memorable tune, "Never Gonna Come Back Down," mixes a dense, dark, sludgy Meat-Beat-Manifesto-ish beat with both a rock and hip-hop vibe and strikingly catchy melody (courtesy of Doughty of Soul Coughing, who co-wrote the track and provides vocals). "Madskillz-Mic Chekka" and "Smartbomb" take that hip-hop energy and cross it with out-and-out electronic blips and whooshes, while "Love on Haight Street" sounds like Warren Gıs dreamy jazz-rap. "Dreaming" changes the mood entirely, with an evocative, more-beats-per-minute electronic sound and breathy, soaring vocals by Kristy Hawkshaw. "Running Down the Way Up" picks up on the folksy, moody feel of BTıs remixee, Sarah McLachlan. "Shame" adds downbeat, grungy guitar to the mix, while "Godspeed" evokes the airy, pretty beats of 70s disco. The title track heads towards all-electronic-all-the-time Chemical Brothers territory at full velocity. "Satellite," on the other hand, is a gently pulsing, sad-eyed thing that takes the emotional crescendo of a power ballad and adds a sparkly beatbox feel to unabashedly pretty pop melodies (and, for the first time, BTıs own perfectly nice singing voice). If youıre someone whoıs stayed away from electronic music because it seems repetitive and dehumanized, this is the disc for you.

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