Tycho, a.k.a. Scott Hansen, is an ambient music producer (and graphic designer). His guitar-based soundscapes have gotten him a sizeable fanbase, with his tracks getting millions of views on YouTube, and millions more plays on Spotify. But while his music has always been received positively, one nagging problem has been his lack of surprise: in other words, people have been craving a bit more variety in his work. This problem couldn’t have been addressed better in his latest (his fourth) album, Awake.
The prime reason for this album being such a breakthrough is the addition of bass guitar and drums. This gives the album an almost soft/indie rock feel, further augmenting his cross-genre sound.
With this new band of sorts, come a wider variety of sounds. For example in “Apogee” the rough drum beat really gets you in the mood for dancing, especially with the light, rapid feel of the guitar on top; and then in “See”, the bass solo above the synth during the introduction could be compared to The Vaccines’ “All In White”. And while some might say that Tycho is moving too far away from his original material, it seems to make sense that Tycho has gone and gotten himself a band as his ringing guitar sounds are often reminiscent of U2’s guitarist, The Edge; one prime example of this is the opening of this album, which could almost be a version of all-time-hit “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”.
The track sequencing is brilliant. This album really does take you on a (metaphorical) journey. With quite a few of the tracks being named after places – for example Montana, the American state, and Apogee, an astronomical term for the most distant point of a heavenly body – this album certainly “travels”: and you can hear that in the music too, with the dramatic atmospheric contrasts on the album, from the underwater sounds of “See”’s middle section, to the dry sound of the kit throughout.
This album is a real milestone for the San Francisco-based producer. It is ambitious in covering new sounds, and risky in being unlike the previous album “Dive ” which was so popular – but things certainly have turned out well for Tycho.
We just hope we won’t have to wait another 3 years for the next album!
☽ ☽ x Peace and love to all you repeaters x ☾ ☾