Article On BT In Billboard Magazine, November 2, 1996
Added November 11, 1996
Sent to me by Nghia Luu .
Transeau Brings U.K. Raves To U.S. On Kinetic
Collaboration With Tori Amos Hits Big At Radio New York-Nearly a year after taking the U.K. club underground by storm with his Perfecto debut, "Ima," Washington D.C., native Brian Transeau is finally invading the mainstream musical consciousness of his homeland. He's doing it with the aid of Tori Amos and along the unlikely route of modern rock radio.
Weeks before its Nov. 5 retail arrival in the U.S. on the Kinetic/Reprise, the album has already spawned a potential stateside smash with "Blue Skies," a newly recorded duet with Amos that has been added to the set. Though not planned for commercial single release, a promotional CD and 12-inch pressing of the cut went to radio programmers and club DJs Oct. 15.
And while the label is not slated to officially solicit airplay until Nov. 5, 18 stations are actively spinning the track. In fact, a number of outlets jumped on "Blue Skies" earlier this month, when the Kinetic president Steve Lau sent out advance cassttes of the songs to selected stations, including KNTT Seattle.
"It's a fresh-sounding record that has been reacting extremely well with our listeners," says Marco Collins, music director at KNDD.
The cut is the No. 1 breakout on Billboard's Hot Dance Music/ Club Play chart this week.
"This is the first record I've ever worked on that has just taken on a life of its own," says Lau. "It's success is completely organic. We couldn't force the kind of things that are happening."
Despite its dance foundation, the single is drawing the attention of left-leaning rock tastemakers for its blend of caustic electronic keyboard lines and acoustic guitars. "Electronic music is real alternative music," says Transeau. "Not to dis anyone personally, but I think people are starting to gravitate toward music like this because so-called alternative bands have become this generation's equivalent to 80's hair bands. There's nothing atypical or alternative about them."
Transeau first connected with Amos earlier this year, when he rewmixe4d her songs "Talula" and "Putting the Damage On." She offered to return the favor after hearing the U.K. import of the largely instrumental "Ima." She really liked the song 'Divinity' and wants to write words to it," transeau says. At a soundcheck before a gig on her recent tour, Amos began free-styling lyrics to 'Divinity' into a tape machine.
"I flipped out when I heard what she did, and I started writing new music to her words, "says Transeau, adding that he began splicing and fashioning bits of her vocals into what would become the final version of the track. "The repeated hook of the song is 'blue skies' and she actually sang those words together only once."
"Blue Skies" is being added to the U.S. version of "Ima" in the limited-edition two-disc package that includes remixes of material from the album. Kinetic is list-pricing the set at $16.98 and is encouraging retailers to sale-price it for consumers-an idea that is going over well so far.
"For people wo are not aware of the music, there's great value in this kind of package," says Ben Clark, buyer for then Virgin Megastore in San Francisco." But the truth is that people are already requesting this record, thanks to the play it has been getting on local sation KITS."
Boasting a videoclip directed by GOB-TV, "Blue Skies" serves a dual purpose in that it has been released in the U.K. and Europe as the first single from Transeau's second album, due there in early 1997. He is currently dividing his time between mixing tracks for that project and doing initial promotion for "Ima" in the States.
"This is totally cool scenario to be in," says Transeau. I get to really dig into this prcoess I'm making as an artist, while reliving the good memories I have from making "Ima."
Kinetic will aim to keep up with Transeau by issuing his as-yet-untitled second disc in the spring. "we're playing a bit of catch-up with him here right now, but the plan is to ultimately be in close synch with the U.K. and Europe releases, says Lau.
Once the new album is in the bag, Transeau will start assembling musicians for a world tour that will begin during the first quarter of the new year. He says he plans to go back to his stomping grounds at the Berklee School of Music in Boston, where he got his degree, and find players for the trek.
Transeau's career blossomed shortly after garaduating from Berklee, when he became part of the famed Deep Dish Productions team of house music composers and remixers. He struck out on his own two years ago, developing an ambient sound that caught the ears of U.K. club punters and Perfecto Records. A succession of club radio hits that include "Embracing the Sunshine" and "Loving You More" led to "Ima" which has been lauded for its experimental rhythms and lean pop hooks.
"Brian's music is an important part of the future, there's no doubt about it," Lau says. "He's breaking exciting new ground that I believe will pave the way for others."
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