When listening to trance music, one must consider the time and place of its origination. One must also take into account the artist and his/her relation to that origination. Was he or she there at the beginning? If the answer is no, then really, what is he/she worth? Honestly, how much has the genre changed since its beginnings in the early ‘90s? There’s the throbbing beat, the escalation to several inevitable and necessary climaxes, the breathy vocals, and, of course, the synths from outer space. Variations exist, naturally, but the genre of trance is just about worn out simply because the beat will always be big, the rolling dancer will always want the song to reach several climaxes, and finally, there are a finite number of sounds that can emerge from a synthesizer that are aesthetically pleasing.
Okay, then there’s BT (a.k.a. Brian Transeau). The trend of tired trance doesn’t apply to BT because he was one of the pioneers of the genre. I’m making up a rule here. When you’re partially responsible for the most popular sub-genre in a genre of music, you can continue to make that kind of music even after is ceases to sound original because you thought it up in the first place. Maybe this is a stupid rule that doesn’t mean anything, but my point is, because of BT’s vital role, I don’t mind if his records and his remixes all sound pretty much alike. The Technology EP, a six-song EP of remixes from his latest full-length, Emotional Technology, definitely falls into the category of tired trance. But the songs don’t blow, so that’s a plus.
BT, an artist with a couple years at Berklee and a 10-year musical career under his belt, took quite a risk working with *NSYNC’s JC Chasez. That crooner’s solo career hasn’t really done too much because his songs are terrible. He moved up in the world when he co-wrote “The Force of Gravity” with BT. The original edit, clocking in at just under four minutes, is a tightly crafted and nearly flawless pop song—great baseline, soaring vocals, escalating rythms—the whole bit.
The “Tiesto Remix” is just as good, if not better for it’s catchy synth riff and decreased emphasis on Chasez’s vocals. Most trance songs are better for their instrumental ingenuity rather than vocals, simply because the lyrics are either trite phrases about love or outer space. The “Dylan Rhymes Push Up Mix” has a much more upbeat rhythm, one that might indeed inspire pushups—until the rhythms numbed the brain. At just under 10 minutes, this track’s sole purpose is to put the listener/dancer into the veritable trace.
“Superfabulous”, featuring Rose McGowan interestingly enough, is a fast-paced ditty about being super-fabulous. McGowan does her best Shirley Manson impression, deadpanning her lines with a smirk that’s almost visible through the music. If you like your songs to have a recognizable beginning, middle, and end, stick with the “Scott Humphrey Radio Mix”, although the eight-minute “Compufonic 12”” remix does feature a decent disco beat.
“The Great Escape” closes the EP with an extended remix of the album version: the “Attention Deficit” remix. After 10 minutes of the same thing over and over, even the most patient and attentive listener would develop the aforementioned disorder.
BT is an excellent and innovative programmer as well as a talented musician. He helped pioneer the genre of trance music. The songs on the Technology EP are remixes by other trance artists. They’re respectable, but tired. BT should keep a hold on his own material, be responsible for the genre whether or not it sounds worn out.
// Notes from the Road
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