Joshua Winslow, Staff Writer
San Francisco based ambient/electronic outfit Tycho has released another album, and not a moment too soon. The release of “Epoch” this December follows closely the sound established previously by “Awake” (2014) and “Dive” (2011) which firmly cemented the band into place as a premier maker of electronic dreamscapes and “chillwave” music.
“Epoch” opens with “Glider,” a track which seems to exist mostly to re-establish the band’s sound. However, once brought back into the fold, “Horizon,” “Receiver” and title track, “Epoch” dive headlong into their own respective rabbit holes with a finesse longtime listeners will be glad to see born anew.
Listeners will find a rich soundscape of floaty chords, wisps of electronic, string and retro-synth melding into a uniform feel. Though the tempo can change from track to track, or even within a track, the transitions are smooth and gradual. Nothing feels rushed or harsh, the edges have all been filed away leaving listeners with a crafted, funky, melodic and continuously morphing experience that at once is boundless and uplifting.
Each track feels independent of one another and capable of being listened to on “shuffle” or even mixed with selections from previous albums without a notable departure in mood. The mixable attribute of “Epoch” is what makes (the album) such a welcome addition to the Tycho catalogue.
Tycho can be listened to as background music but the subconscious mind seems to tune right in as the music can be very relaxing. That said, taking the time to listen intently and explore the layered nuances of composition offers the eager listener an entirely new experience.
Band lead Scott Hansen found his way to music production almost by accident, experimenting with electronic sound as a hobby while living as a graphic designer and artist in San Francisco. Involvement in the Bay Area artistic community led to an almost inevitable appearance of the band at the annual Burning Man festival, where for three years running, Tycho plays a sunrise set deep in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.
It should be noted that Hansen DJs from atop a giant white rhinoceros with wheels, while six feet of flame periodically shoots out of its horn. There, as the desert sky explores the spectrum of color between purple and orange, Tycho’s consistent soundscape almost seems to be made real.
“Epoch” has already been nominated for Best Dance/Electronic Album for the 2017 Grammy Awards. It can be found online, in most record stores or streaming on Spotify.