Brian Transeau’s sixth studio album release, “These Hopeful Machines” is a double disk that was released February 2 this year. Transeau, otherwise known as BT, is an American producer, composer, singer, songwriter, and audio technician and composed this album. He used a variety of electronic media to promote this CD. The first press release announcing “These Hopeful Machines” was in 2005, but the album was not released. Later, BT used puzzles and cryptograms on his Tumblr page that gave clues about the content and release information for the album.
The CD is an experiment of electronic effects that sound like a machine factory. The sounds are metallic, and often harsh to the ears, a large amount of the background music and beats.
Most of the introductions to the tracks are jarring and difficult to listen to, but the vocals add a soothing component to each track. There are male and female voices that alternate singing the vocals. The voices are soft and soothing, and are enhanced with an echo effect for every song on the album. Despite the voices being a necessary component to nullify the jarring electronic effects, the vocals are boring and reminiscent of the sounds of mediocre 80s pop.
The lyrics, likewise, are boring and repetitive. They feel empty of real human emotion, despite their attempt to convey emotions. Take, for example, some lyrics from the first verse of “Every Other Way,” the third track on the album; “Is it strained, when I call you. Or do you think, that I might forget. Oh your love, is radiating the farther away I go, I go.” These lines are sung with little emotion, and seem as if, following the robotic, mechanical theme of the album, they were sung by robots. If that is what BT was going for, he achieved it.
The back beats are very heavy, and are used by different sound effects to match the tone and theme of the song. This CD is not one to listen to and relax to on headphones after a long day, but rather played in a club and enjoyed by many on the dance floor, where consideration of lyrics and vocals is low. The effect of the music would be properly enhanced with glow sticks and fog machines, as the music is technically classified as trance music as well as ambient, electronica, orchestral, glitch, breakbeat, acoustic guitar, and dance.
Overall, the album is very tight with it’s attention to the main theme of machinery. Each track uses components of the last track, such as in the back beat or in some of the stranger electronic effects, so that the album sounds like one continuous, seamless song, rather than a compilation of random songs. However, the lyrics are emotionless and boring, with soft drawn out vocals that get overwhelmed by the rest of the electronic effects, which makes “These Hopeful Machines” more suitable in a dance club than anywhere else.