The composer/musician known as BT has been, if not on my radar, not far below it: Trini, a few years back, showed me “Somnambulist” and his remix of the Doors’ “Break On Through,” and Glenn Reynolds, I seem to remember, was happy to recommend the early (mid-Nineties) single “The Moment of Truth,” back when the label still read “Brian Transeau.” I later hunted down his “The Rose of Jericho” single, but hadn’t yet found a compelling reason to grab a whole album’s worth.
Then last night, Octavia of Operation VR, a band I’ve mentioned here once or twice, sent this into the tweetstream: “Tonight, I am clearing my head from some stress with #ThisBinaryUniverse by @BT as well as his two new albums.”
I allowed that I’d somewhat lost track of BT, and she filled me in on his later releases. Mostly because of its title, I betook myself to iTunes and picked up If The Stars Are Eternal So Are You And I. (I am, in case you hadn’t noticed, a sucker for that kind of outer-space or, for that matter, that kind of romantic metaphor.) It is wholly unlike old-school BT. That little stutter edit he invented is in evidence here and there, but If The Stars… is slightly tilted toward the ambient edge of electronica; BT’s Web site describes it as “a post study to BT’s critically acclaimed 2006 IDM/Classical masterpiece This Binary Universe,” which of course goes onto the want list. (IDM, for the unlettered, yours truly included, apparently means “Intelligent Dance Music.”) There are seven tracks, though they flow into one another so well that separating them seems like an exercise in brutality. Best example: “Hikari,” synth yielding to guitar and piano, followed by “Our Dark Garden,” a simple guitar figure underlying a river of glistening, undulating sounds and, starting about halfway through, a repeated vocal figure. It all slowly fades away, and then drops you into “The Gathering Darkness,” which takes its sweet time getting to danceability. It’s so lovely you won’t care.
Incidentally, another BT album was released more or less simultaneously with this one: Morceau Subrosa (“Undercover Piece”?), which is one long track running 46 minutes or so. If it’s anything like this, it’s a must. Then again, if it’s nothing like this, and apparently it’s not, it’s probably still a must.