I loved this guy in the 90s and have loved his musical output from the 90s ever since. Recently, I have been revisiting some old favourites and also checking out some of his newer releases and stuff I had missed from in between, so I thought I'd start a thread to discuss all of his music. I'll start with what I like to call 'Phase 1' which includes the singles and remixes released around 1995 and his debut album 'Ima'.
I remember getting 'Ima' on CD for my birthday in 1996 (age 14) and it blew me away - it sounded like nothing else I'd ever heard. Big chunky house beats with uplifting melodies and lots of nature sounds. It was very positive without being cheesy. He also had some great piano work on tracks like Divinity and Embracing the Sunshine. He didn't even need the association with Sasha in my opinion. Sasha's remix of Embracing the Future is great, but so are BT's original versions. Sasha's 'Voyage of Ima' megamix was also fine, but the included tracks all stand up perfectly well on their own and it rather spoiled the flow of the album on CD. Here's a list of essential tracks from this era:
Embracing the Sunshine
BT's Embracing the Future Mix is my favourite version. Fairly short at 5mins but the other remixes lack the piano solo which gives me the tingles. BT's Deeper Sunshine Mix is also good; smoother and more mellow and just generally, y'know, a bit deeper! Sasha's remix is also worth a look - he stretches all the elements out to epic proportions, but it does get a little repetitive in places. Probably better suited to the dance floor than home listening.
Loving You More
Featuring vocals from Vincent Covello, the short 4m30s version entitled BT's Final Spiritual Journey is a perfect little dance pop tune and quite a natural evolution to the sound and style of Embracing the Sunshine. BT's Primordial Sound 12" Vocal has a nice long piano/nature sounds introduction but strips out some of the melody and chord changes during the verses for a slightly harder edge. The actual 12" version has an extended beatless outro to compliment the intro, but the CD single version sadly fades out 3 minutes early. Finally, there's BT's Garden of Ima Dub, which chops up the vocals and ups the intensity of the groove and beats. There are a lot of other remixes by other artists (some trance, some house) but personally I don't think any of them are worth bothering with.
Grace - Not Over Yet (BT's Spirit of Grace Remix)
The Perfecto original is quite rightly a dance classic, but BT manages to make it even better, injecting several long build ups of anticipation before the euphoric drops and added emotional content from his piano flourishes. The whole song is still in there too. One of my all time favourites.
Nocturnal Transmission, Quark, Tripping The Light Fantastic, Divinity, Poseidon
These are 5 other tracks which make up the Ima album. Nocturnal Transmission slowly builds from ambient sounds and new age vibes to a deep progressive house groove, which intensifies in the second half before dropping into the same heavy organ loop as the Garden of Ima Dub above. Quark is a chunky house track with big bass, floaty synths and some nice acid lines. Tripping the Light Fantastic is a bit more trancey, with a bouncy bassline and some big lead synth melodies. Divinity is a lesson in anticipation. It starts with some beautiful piano chords during the ambient intro, then intensifies over several minutes before dropping an eruption of euphoric piano chords. Poseidon is the weakest of the bunch (probably why it was only included in the 2xCD American issue of Ima, released a year later) but the chord progression and bassline combo that starts at around 6 minutes is totally lush. I find this track works better if you can slow the tempo down a little.
I've left out Blue Skies because although it was included on the 1996 American version of Ima, I feel it belongs more in Phase 2 of BT's output with the stuff released around his second album, ESCM.
Youtube playlist with the best tracks from Phase 1 below