10 Years in the Life

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Early on a house producer for the Deep Dish collective, later a trance pioneer and surprising figurehead for electronica among mainstream buyers, BT earned a comprehensive retrospective with the double-disc 10 Years in the Life. Separated into a disc of his own tracks and a disc of his own remixes of other artists, the set displays what made Brian Transeau a hit with dance fans all over the world (mainly in Britain and America). The first disc begins with his first productions ("The Moment of Truth," "Relativity"), both of which rose above much of the house music being pumped out of New York during the early '90s. After signing on to Perfecto, the label led by U.K. DJ supremo Paul Oakenfold, BT began hitting with the British mainstream. Led by "Loving You More," "Flaming June," and the Tori Amos feature "Blue Skies," BT productions paved the way for the return of epic-sounding dance with strong melodies, a heavy debt to the sequencer, and a drum breakdown or two; the trance steamroller of the late '90s owes its highest debt to BT, perhaps even more so than the DJs (Oakenfold, Sasha, John Digweed), who relentlessly caned the tracks that put trance in the hearts and minds of British, and later American, clubgoers. From there, he became more an album artist, tracking different strains of music instead of innovating as before -- whether electro-techno ("Love, Peace & Grease"), the LTJ Bukem style of ambient drum'n'bass ("The Road to Lostwithiel"), or even post-millennial chart pop ("Never Gonna Come Back Down," partially saved by Soul Coughing's M. Doughty on vocals) -- but always delivering highly polished productions. The second disc is a baker's dozen of BT remixes, continuously mixed and featuring quite a few excellent co-productions: a soundclash with childhood friends Deep Dish on "Stranded"; a co-billing with Sasha reworking Madonna's "Drowned World/Substitute for Love"; and the last track, "Shineaway," with the Psychedelic Furs' Richard Butler on vocals.

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