TYCHO: Dive (Ghostly International)


Posted on Oct 26th 2011 01:20 am

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Tycho: Dive

Ghostly International 2011
10 Tracks. 50mins37secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD Spotify: STRM

Tycho is the music project of San Francisco-based graphic designer Scott Hansen, who, as ISO50, has developed a highly identifiable graphic style, often inspired by old seventies imagery. Equally, as Tycho, Hansen produces music which, while primarily electronic and contemporary, appears warm and worn.

Following a first self-released EP published nearly ten years ago, Tycho’s debut album, Sunrise Projector came out in 2004 on short-lived imprint Gammaphone. The album was repackaged two years later, with additional material, as Past Is Prologue, on Merck, then on Ghostly when the Ann Arbor-based label signed Hansen following the demise of Merck. If this has proved a hazardous journey, it hasn’t discouraged Hansen, whose second album proper, Dive, is now being released.

As was the case with Sunrise Projector, Hansen lays down a series of beautiful warm and lush electronic compositions here, most of them somewhat chilled. But while his first album relied entirely on electronic textures, Hansen layers his soundscapes with acoustic guitar and, occasionally, electric bass. If this doesn’t strictly impact majorly on Tycho’s sound, it reinforces the organic feel of these compositions, and allows Hansen to inject his melodies with fresh energy.

Right from album opener A Walk, Hansen builds up rich evocative soundscapes which are often reminiscent of the dreamy electronica of Boards Of Canada or ISAN, but he opts for more direct melodies and soundscapes throughout. Yet, if his compositions often appears straightforward and deceptively simple, they are in fact often rather complex sonic constructions, built from dense layers of finely refined and treated sounds, upon which he adds discreet elements of wear and tear to give his pieces a slight psychedelic feel. This is particularly apparent on Hours, Dive, Adrift or Epigram, especially as some of these seem to be subjected to more or less continuous tape distortions. Elsewhere, Hansen focuses more on the dreamy aspect of his compositions, giving pieces such as Coastal Brake, Ascension or Melanine a wonderful pastoral touch.

Dive doesn’t depart hugely from its predecessor, despite the relatively big gap in between these two releases, but Hansen confidently asserts his style, as he has done with his graphic work, and builds upon it. In fact, these two aspects of his creativity seem intricately linked, as if the music he creates was a sonic extension of his visual work, or vice versa.


Tycho | Ghostly International
Amazon UK: CD | LP | DLD US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD Spotify: STRM

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