After reinventing himself as more of a headphone artist with 2006’s glitchy album This Binary Universe, BT takes it a step further on These Hopeful Machines, an effort that breaks the two-hour mark with only 12 songs. If that sounds like the progressive trance version of Saturnz Return, BT’s magnum opus does share some of the indulgence problems found on Goldie’s epic, but this effort is much more humble. The driving force behind Machines seems to be the producer’s love of freedom and exploration, as most tracks build, fade away, morph, and wander about with little care for what radio, clubs, or a major label might require. Fans who enjoy the glitch-meets-trance textures of Universe will find even more to love here, and more songs, too, as BT, the returning JES, and a handful of guest vocalists deliver the usual lyrics filled with modern mysticism. Riding “Suddenly” from its crunchy, avant opening to its Black Eyed Peas-like middle and onto its glitch-fueled flame-out is exciting, while the closing take on the Psychedelic Furs’ “Ghost in You” is a different trip, something akin to calmly floating in an ‘80s pop hit for eight minutes. “Forget Me” combines alt-rock angst and field recordings to great effect, while “Le Nocturne De Lumiere” creates a dream world out of thumb pianos and thumping house beats. Listeners who don’t mind so many devices and left turns must still be predisposed to BT’s airy, big-sky style of electronica to get the most out of this long, involved journey. These Hopeful Machines doesn’t try to convince, it’s meant to reward the already converted with a vast wonderland of melodic glitch and prolonged bliss.
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AllMusic Review by David Jeffries
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2