Brian Transeau: Wikis

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Brian Transeau

BT (Brian Transeau)
Background information
Birth name Brian Wayne Transeau
Also known as BT
Born October 4, 1971 (1971-10-04) (age 38)
Rockville, Maryland, U.S.
Genres Electronic Music, film score, New Classical
Occupations Producer, Composer, Singer
Years active 1995 - Present
Labels Perfecto Records, Reprise Records, Headspace Recordings, Nettwerk, DTS Entertainment, Black Hole Recordings

Brian Wayne Transeau (born October 4, 1971, in Rockville, Maryland) is an American music producer, composer, audio technician, singer and songwriter better known by his stage name, BT. He is an artist in the electronic genre. BT has produced and written for artists such as Peter Gabriel, 'N_Sync, Sting, Blake Lewis, Tori Amos and Tiesto. As a film composer he has worked on films such as The Fast and the Furious and Monster.

BT is known for using a technique he calls the stutter edit. This technique consists of taking a micro fragment of sound and then repeating it rhythmically. BT was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for his song Somnambulist. This song was recognized as using the largest number of vocal edits in a song (6,178 edits.) [1]

In 2009, he launched his software company Sonik Architects with the company's first product for iPhone, named Sonifi. [2]


Early years

At an early age, BT studied music at the Washington Conservatory of Music. He went on to attend the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. [3]

Music career

In the early 1990s, BT moved back to Maryland and began collaborating with friends Ali "Dubfire" and Sharam of Deep Dish.[4] BT's productions were not yet popular in the US, and he had no idea that he had become popular across the Atlantic, where UK DJs like Sasha and Paul Oakenfold were regularly spinning his music for crowds. Sasha bought BT a ticket to London, where BT witnessed his own success—several thousand clubbers responded enthusiastically when Sasha played his song.[5] He was soon signed to Oakenfold's record label, a subsidiary of Warner Brothers.[6] BT's songs "A Moment of Truth" and "Relativity" became hits in the UK, and it was during this time in that BT met Tori Amos.[6]

In the early years of BT's career (roughly 1995-2000), he became a pioneering artist in the trance genre. Despite the fact that he is not truly a DJ, and does not claim to be one,[7] BT has often appeared on the lists of the world's top DJs. In 2006, he ranked 73rd on DJ Mag's Top 100 DJ list. In 2005, he ranked 82nd,[8] up from 92 in 2004.[9] Additional rankings were 83rd in 2003 and 76 in 2001.[10][11] More recently, in DJ Times, BT was ranked as America's second best DJ, as voted by fans.[12]

BT has said of his musical background, "I'm not the traditional type of dance music artist. I'm not a DJ. I come from a classical music background. I attended the Berklee College of Music, and I played in punk bands."[5]


A sensation in the UK that spawned multiple top 20 singles, BT's 1994 album Ima defined a genre of music that has come to be known as progressive house and or trance[citation needed]. With its theme of nature and technology it spawned a vernacular which other electronic music artists continue to pull from more than 15 years later[citation needed]. Another prized collaboration with singer/songwriter Tori Amos, "Blue Skies," was subsequently released and helped the album gain notice in America.[6] The title, "Ima" ("今"), is the Japanese word for "now."


This album featured more complex melodies and more traditional harmonies along with a heavier use of vocals.[13] The tone of the album is darker and less whimsical than Ima. The album, as a whole, is much more diverse than BT's debut album. The LP was a hit in Britain, Australia, and Japan.[5]

The biggest hit from ESCM was "Flaming June,"[13] a collaboration with German trance meister Paul Van Dyk. Van Dyk and BT would collaborate on a number of works including the unreleased "Namastai" as well as Van Dyk's remix of BT's "Blue Skies" and "Remember." "Remember" featured Jan Johnston on vocals. BT and Van Dyk also remixed the Van Dyk classic "Forbidden Fruit." This album spawned numerous chart singles as well as 2 US billboard dance #1 songs[citation needed].

Movement in Still Life

BT released his 1999 album Movement in Still Life and continued his previous experimentation outside of the trance genre. The album, his third, features a strong element of nu skool breaks, a genre he helped define with the popular "Hip-Hop Phenomenon,"[14] in collaboration with Tsunami One aka Adam Freeland. The strong hip-hop influences on "Madskillz-Mic Chekka" and "Love on Haight Street" combined with memorable vocals created a body of work that is continually referenced in pop and electronic music culture today[citation needed]. The album hits a spectrum of genre-work. "Smartbomb" is a mix of funky, heavy riffs from both synthesizers and guitars woven over a hip-hop break and includes a lyric sample from "Love on Haight Street". "Shame" and "Satellite" lean toward an alt-rock sound, while "Godspeed" and "Dreaming" fall into classic trance ranks. "Running Down the Way Up", a collaboration with fellow electronic act Hybrid, features sultry vocals heavily edited into a progressive breakbeat track. "Never Gonna Come Back Down" (featuring vocals by Mike Doughty) was BT's first radio hit in America and propelled the sales of the album to over 300,000 Sound Scanned copies in the US[citation needed].

Emotional Technology

The original versions of many tracks that were to be released on the follow up to Movement in Still Life were stolen from BT's studio during a burglary around Christmas of 2001. $75,000 worth of equipment was stolen. The 11 lost tracks included collaborations with Sarah McLachlan and Peter Gabriel which were never duplicated.[citation needed]

The album that replaced the lost tracks was Emotional Technology, released in 2003. It featured more vocal tracks than BT's previous fare, including six with vocals by BT himself. Emotional Technology was BT's least experimental album to date, and many consider it the "poppiest" of all of his work. The biggest single from the album, Somnambulist, draws heavily from the breakbeats and new wave dance of New Order and Depeche Mode, whom BT has cited as major influences.[15] The rest of the album fairly escapes genre labeling, from the dark guitar work of Circles, to The Only Constant is Change which is reminiscent of Satellite, the album blends genres and changes genres in mid-track. The single "Somnabulist" holds the Guinness World Record for most vocal edits in a single track, with 6,178 in the album version.[16]

This Binary Universe

BT's fifth studio album, This Binary Universe, released in 2006, is his second studio album released in 5.1 surround sound, the first being the soundtrack to the motion picture Monster.

The album features a mix of many genres, including jazz, breakbeats, and classical music. Three songs feature a full 110-piece orchestra. BT has said that the album has a lullaby-like quality, inspired by his daughter, Kaia, who sat on his lap throughout most of the song writing process[citation needed]. Animated videos were created to accompany each song.[17] The videos are included in a DVD packaged along with the CD.

Keyboard Magazine declared of the album, “In a hundred years, it could well be studied as the first major electronic work of the new millennium.”[18]

Unlike his last two albums, which featured vocals on almost every track, this album contains none. The tracks also change genres constantly throughout. A good example is "The Antikythera Mechanism", which starts off almost lullaby-like, complete with a piano, acoustic guitars and reversed beats. Halfway through the track, the song explodes with a 110-piece orchestra, followed by a section of breakbeats and ending with the de-construction of the orchestra.

Through the months of November and December 2006, BT toured the album with Thomas Dolby opening. This three-piece band set featured many instruments created by BT himself[citation needed], as well as introduced his live Stutter Edit plug-in that was to be released in 2007. The concert also featured a live slideshow of images from the online website DeviantArt as a backdrop.[19][20]

The Stutter Edit as well as Break Tweaker are both software plug-ins created by BT's company, "Sonik Architects" which will be made available in 2010[citation needed].

These Hopeful Machines

BT's sixth studio album, These Hopeful Machines, was released on February 2, 2010. The album featured guest vocalists/collaborators Kirsty Hawkshaw, Jes Brieden, Rob Dickinson of Catherine Wheel and Charlotte Martin. Early official remixes were made by Armin van Buuren, and Chicane.


Upcoming collaborations:


BT has written his own software called BreakTweaker for his latest album. He was intending to release it in 2007 under his software company, Sonik Architects. He plans to then come out with a line of tools and plugins specifically aimed at musicians and DJs, including his signature stutter edit.[26] He has a team of developers now working on delivering a feature-complete product leaving him free to focus on higher level architecture and development.

In addition to his "BT Stutter" edit,[6] BT's signature sound is also achieved by means of a method of sound manipulation called granular synthesis, where sounds are broken apart into tiny pieces and rearranged to create very chaotic and wild soundscapes.[27] BT is one of the direct pioneers of time correction techniques.[28] Time correction is a method by which a producer takes a series of samples with random occurrence (such as rain) and time corrects each individual hit according to a rhythmic and mathematical grid, much like the BT stutter. The result is that the seemingly random pulses take on a rhythmic form as well as a developing pattern, but retain their chaotic and unpredictable character.

Transeau has developed his own method of time-correcting which he calls "nano-correcting," which is correcting any note shorter than a 64th note (he often edits to the 1,024th and 2,048th notes). He is writing a book on stutter editing and time correcting and has included a chapter on nano-correcting.[28]

[29] Sonik Architects also released a portable remixing application for iPhone and iPod Touch called Sonifi.[30]

Personal life

BT performing "Flaming June" at Ultra Music Festival '08

BT has a daughter, Kaia Nui Transeau.

In early 2007 approximately $150,000 worth of recording equipment was stolen from his private home recording studio. BT confirmed through his Myspace page that he would give a reward for information leading to return of the equipment.[31]

On January 11, 2008, ABC news reported that BT's daughter, had been abducted by her mother during a planned visit. [32] The mother was arrested, but charges were withdrawn and the matter was settled in family court.[33][34]


BT began scoring films in 1999 with Go. Since then he has scored over ten films, including Stealth and The Fast and the Furious. In addition, he produced the score for the 2001 film Zoolander, but had his name removed from the project. His tracks for the film were finished by composer David Arnold.[35] He also produced the score for the 2003 film Monster, earning him particular acclaim.[15]

Transeau has scored the video games Die Hard Trilogy 2: Viva Las Vegas (2000), Wreckless: The Yakuza Missions (2002) and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 (2004).

BT has ventured into television, creating the scores for the TV series Kevin Hill in 2004 and for Tommy Lee Goes To College for NBC in 2005. He executive-produced the Tommy Lee series, the idea for which he developed and sold to NBC.[7]

Film appearances and scores

Video game appearances and scores

  • Die Hard Trilogy 2: Viva Las Vegas (1999) - Complete score
  • ESPN Winter X Games Snowboarding (2000) - "Smartbomb"
  • FreQuency (2001) - "Smartbomb"
  • SSX Tricky (2001) - "Smartbomb (Plump's Vocal Mix)" and "Hip Hop Phenomenon" (with Tsunami One)
  • Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec (2001) - "Madskillz-Mic Chekka"
  • FIFA 2002 (2001) - "Never Gonna Come Back Down (Hybrids Echoplex Dub Mix)"
  • Wipeout Fusion (2002) - "Smartbomb (Plump DJs Remix)"
  • ATV Offroad Fury 2 (2002) - "The Revolution"
  • Wreckless: The Yakuza Missions (2002) - Complete score
  • Need for Speed: Underground (2003) - "Kimosabe" (with Wildchild)
  • Amplitude (2003) - "Kimosabe" (with Wildchild)
  • Dance Dance Revolution Extreme (2004) - "Simply Being Loved (Somnambulist)"
  • Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 (2004) - Complete score (Now available on iTunes)
  • Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2005) - "Tao of the Machine (Scott Humprhey's Remix)" (with The Roots)
  • XGRA: Extreme-G Racing Association - "Dreaming", "Godspeed", "Never Gonna Come Back Down", "Mercury & Solace", "Running Down the Way Up", "Smart Bomb", and "Mad Skillz".
  • Burnout Revenge (2005) - The Doors - "Break On Through (BT Mix)" (Credited as BT vs. The Doors)
  • Alpha Protocol (2009)



Singles and EPs


  • R&R (Rare & Remixed) (2001) - A two disc mix album showcasing BT's remix work, rare songs from his early career and previously unreleased tracks, most notably "Sunblind".
  • Still Life In Motion (2001) - A collection of remixes and edits of songs off of Movement in Still Life.
  • 10 Years In the Life (2002) - Disc 1 is a collection of rare songs, remixes and edits of Transeau's songs, showcasing Transeau's progression as an artist over the span of a decade. It notably includes his very first track ever recorded, "The Moment Of Truth". Disc 2 is a mix album and features remixes and rare tracks done by BT, including remixes of Madonna, DJ Rap, The Crystal Method and Deep Dish. Most of the rare tracks by BT are under the names of his many aliases. The booklet that comes with the CD features stories by BT about the making of each track on both discs, as well as a series of comments about his early career, remixing, scoring films and producing music in general.


Sample CDs

  • Breakz from the Nu Skool (2002)
  • Twisted Textures (2002)
  • 300 Years Later (with Nick Phoenix) (2005)

Aliases and Pseudonyms

  • BT
  • Prana
  • Elastic Chakra
  • Elastic Reality
  • Two Phat Cunts (with Sasha)
  • Libra
  • Dharma
  • Kaistar
  • GTB

Awards and nominations

  • 2007 America's 2nd Best DJ[36]
  • 2008 Nominated America's Best DJ[37]
  • 2009 DJ Mag Top 100: DJ #120 of the world [38]

See also


  1. ^ BIAS Artist Profiles: BT
  2. ^ BT’s Sonifi For The iPhone » Synthtopia
  3. ^
  4. ^ "". 
  5. ^ a b c "Remix Magazine". 
  6. ^ a b c d e "Twenty-First-Century Prototype". 
  7. ^ a b The world at his fingertips - The Boston Globe
  8. ^ "DJ Mag's Top 100 DJs 2005". 
  9. ^ "DJ Mag's Top 100 DJs 2004". 
  10. ^ "DJ Mag's Top 100 DJs 2003". 
  11. ^ "DJ Mag's Top 100 DJs 2001". 
  12. ^ America's Best DJ 2007
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h "Miami New Times". 
  14. ^ "Lunar Magazine interview". 
  15. ^ a b "Keyboard Magazine Article". 
  16. ^ Somnambulist
  17. ^ "BTs' Last FM site". 
  18. ^ "KeyboardMag". 
  19. ^ "DeviantArt Presents BT and Thomas Dolby". 
  20. ^ Images and accounts from the tour to date can be seen at dA Presents. dAPresents on deviantART
  21. ^
  22. ^ "BT: 'King Of Dirty Pop'". MTV News. 2001-06-22. 
  23. ^ "Millennium Dome". 
  24. ^ "BT Music". 
  25. ^ "TV Guide". 
  26. ^ "Progressive Sounds". 
  27. ^ IGN: BT Goes Into Stealth Mode
  28. ^ a b Sonic Surgeon - interview with electronica and pop whiz BT
  29. ^ Twitter 15/03/09 2:50pm
  30. ^ BT's twitter feed, June 2, 2009
  31. ^ BT News - Yahoo! Music
  32. ^ His Daughter Gone, Artist Asks for Help - ABC News
  33. ^ 3-year-old Boyds girl back with her father
  34. ^ With Child Safe, Custody Battle Begins Anew
  35. ^ "List of films scored by BT". 
  36. ^ "Americas 2nd Best DJ 2007". 
  37. ^ "Nominated Americas Best DJ 2008". 
  38. ^ "DJ Mag 2009". 

External links

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