Album: BT

Still Life... in Motion, Ministry of Sound
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Brian Transeau, aka BT, looks likely to cross over to the mainstream next year, following inroads made with the single "Never Gonna Come Back Down". Not that he's desperate for public acclaim, being one of house music's more successful backroom boys: this year he's scored soundtracks for the movies Driven and The Fast and the Furious, contributed to the Tomb Raider soundtrack, and produced tracks for Britney Spears and N'Sync. Perhaps it's to redress all that ultra-commercial work that this mini-album features BT in more hard-core guise, bashing out crunching Chemical Brothers-style big-beat in "Smartbomb", tearing up the breakbeat-techno of "Madskillz" with dazzling bursts of digitally enhanced scratching, and conjuring up a haunting, down-tempo hip-hop blend of dark beats and shimmering backdrop for "Love on Haight Street", which features raps by Rasco and Fifty Grand. Doughty, singer with the US indie/sampler outfit Soul Coughing, adds suitably berserk vocals to "Never Gonna Come Back Down", which thunders along like the bastard offspring of Leftfield and Smashing Pumpkins, while Transeau himself makes an impressively sensitive vocal debut on the Depeche Mode song "Shame", a densely produced indie-dance crossover. Bulking out the five basic tracks are remixes by the likes of Way Out West, Bent and the Plump DJs, who reduce the raging "Smartbomb" to a few contrails of synthesiser over a more dancefloor-friendly disco beat. Recommended.