writings

The Lost Art of Good BT Albums (c)

Sad but true...

Don't get me wrong. The man is my hero. Literally. Brian has my utter respect and is responsible for blowing my mind off regarding music production and sound design. In 2010/11 I heard These Hopeful Machines and my life has never been the same since. He is clearly light years ahead of everyone, when he wants it. And still somehow underrated.

And believe me I'm not one of those 'aah those were the days' nostalgic kinda guys, totally against anything contemporary. Lots of really great stuff is being released today. And I freakin' loved 'The War' from the first listen, but that's about it on his last album.

I just want my art to have essence. Let me elaborate.

His productions got to a point of sounding like plastic for my taste but technically still on the highest level, the music is empty though – meaning neither can I associate myself with any feelings expressed here, if those can be called such, nor listen to these tracks more than once, not even in full. No one is gonna tell him that in his cozy fan-infested instagram lair of course, at the risk of being ostracized.. Technical prowess can never replace the 'heart' of an artwork. Chris Nolan's movie Tenet is a recent proof of that (I'm sure Brian loved it, ha). Underscore '_' had its cool moments, but more recent 'abstract/ambient' albums on Black Hole were perfectly passable as well. No more 'set in stone' feel to them, let alone replayability. Just harmless background EDM for IT nerds or something... Also, my 2 cents as a photographer/designer: the lighting of cover photography is awful, making him look like a Mexican junkie as someone on Russian music forums said.. Compare this cover to his older albums – less 'me', more beauty, concepts, and mystery. Yeah I know that Black Hole as a big label probably requires you to put your face on the cover..

Overall I feel that 'passability' is the zeitgeist of our modern age and BT, having struggled all his life to be recognized for his efforts (just listen to 'Forget Me' for example), currently more or less resting on his laurels and enjoying well-deserved respect (no offence to the hard work routines of the man), can't get his unique inner voice back to go against the grain, or maybe he doesn't want to at all.

For music to have essence and nutritious filling the creator should obviously have access to corresponding experiences to reflect them in sounds; and that's why productions from 'the crazy 90s' often feel timeless and fresh and set in stone (yes, lots of garbage as well) – different age, different feel, different people, daring to dive into the unknown. I find myself returning to the 'dirty' sound of oldschool more and more often. Damn it, just blast 'Fibonacci Sequence' on proper speakers or headphones at full volume. It's filthy, it's sexy, it's dangerous! (featured on one and only Parks & Wilson BBC Radio 1 Essential mix from 2000). I guess our lives are becoming increasingly plastic, safe and predictable and that's obviously being reflected in music productions.. It's just that some accept that and settle down while others seek deeper and more profound experiences and sounds. To each their own.
| my original comment on his discogs profile page
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