Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

TYCHO

Awake

2014-03-30

Scott Hansen's work as Tycho has been compared relentlessly to Boards of Canada, which certainly makes a lot of sense if your frame of reference is between The Science of Patterns EP in 2002, his first LP Sunrise Projector in 2004 and his sophomore record Past is Prologue 2 years later. With these releases, Hansen followed the framework popularized by Boards of Canada: texturally dense electronic music that was way too ambient to be classified as dancey, yet beneath the dreamy atmospheres possessed a steady pulse of groovable beats referencing hip-hop along with driving basslines for structure. This dynamic created a unique and very accessible sound for electronic music. However, with the release of Dive in 2011 with Ghostly, Tycho became known as a truly unique project and sound, one that eclipsed descriptors like "chill" or "ambient" with an ultra-clean, crystalline-produced, heavily and intentionally percussive aesthetic. Awake quite spectacularly expounds on what is now known as Tycho's signature sound thanks to Dive.

It is worth noting that when touring for Dive, Hansen recruited the help of Zac Brown to play guitar and bass and Rory O'Connor for live drums. While this accompaniment helped bolster the live performances of the songs on Dive, they did not play a significant role in the composition and production of the music. This has clearly shifted, listening to Awake, because the overall tone includes the layers provided by Brown and O'Connor as much as Hansen's telltale soft, floating timbre of electronica. Having Tycho as a trio makes for a more "live" sound, even if it is perfectly produced. It would be completely pointless to describe each track, because quite frankly, all of Tycho's music sounds the same (in the best way possible, of course).

Recommended Tracks: #1 "Awake", #4 "Dye", #7 "Spectre"

Sig Steiger    

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