Where S U R V I V E, along with other groups, whose modern take on 80's electronic music delves into the world of a sinister synths and brooding beats (which I love), I would say Tycho, the main music project of artist Scott Hanson, represents the opposite. Their music presents a lighter, welcoming vision of the future; using sounds and styles of the past, while causing us to get lost in the world of tomorrow.
2011's Dive was the first time I'd listened to Tycho (they released one album prior, 2006's Past Is Prologue). In a time when I didn't actively seek out electronic music (outside of genre staples), it was something that caught my ear. In the years prior I had heard of number of singles I would latch onto (Boards of Canada - "Dayvan Cowboy"), but albums as a whole rarely gained my attention. Now, I don't attribute Dive as a turning point necessarily, but 2011 was also the year that Washed Out dropped their sophomore release and debut LP, Within and Without, a record I DO attribute as a turning point, and a record I might not have picked it up had it not been for Dive. The album was patient, filled with warm tones and dream inducing melodies, and considering those are the feelings I like to garner from classical music, the genre I listen to most, it seemed it was time to make a shift.
Three years later, Tycho put out Awake, an eight song LP, which, if I'm being honest, I didn't heavily explore upon its release. Maybe it was the time and place, but I casually dismissed it. Occasionally I'd pull it up and listen, though only by way of background music. However, I began to listen to it more intently, anticipating the release of Epoch, and I have to say, it might be my favorite of his. If I were to judge, it's likely the least complex of the four, but that steadiness is welcomed. I know that it seems casual to label an album as pleasant (if someone described me as pleasant I would assume that I'm adequate and entirely forgettable) but when pleasant is what you're looking for, Awake marks the spot.
Now, lets talk 2016. Epoch represents a best of both worlds for fans of both Dive and Awake. It builds on the complexities that the previous albums offered, expanding their scope, yet it never strays too far from that trance like atmosphere, an atmosphere that I feel is always their main intention. Even when they pick up the pace, for instance, on the last third of the opener "Glide," it's never loud, just...less quiet? And while most tracks on Epoch feature progressive moments, it's songs like "Receiver" and "Field" that are my favorites. Quiet and warm, it makes it impossible not to lay back and drift away.
Tycho's sounds are nothing new, but fans of theirs respect both the innovation and consistency, a combination that isn't the easiest to land. Generally one of two takes hold, but Epoch is a testament to the assumption that they can coexist. So whether you like soaring guitar riffs or quickened percussion, or maybe you prefer the sparse beats and fading synths, it's all here for you, patiently waiting to effect reverie and leisure.