tycho – epoch

– featured image courtesy of lauren crew –

“album of the fortnight” is a new bi-weekly feature that digs into a recent release of note.  the articles will run roughly during the middle and at the end of each month, always on a friday; the album or body of work in question will have been released at some point during that two-week span.  this column focuses on art that resonates deeply, on pieces that necessitate more than just a knee-jerk reaction.  next up: tycho.

The public’s perception of scott hansen’s work as tycho has, up until september 30th, been primarily informed by two studio albums: 2011’s dive and 2014’s awake.  sure, there’s his 2006 debut, past is prologue, but that album feels like a true prologue, just a hint of the aesthetic hansen would soon craft.

dive is aqueous, spacious, patient enough to allow monolithic soundscapes to emerge from subterranean depths.  echoes of chillwave inevitably reverberate off of the album’s cavernous confines, but dive feels primarily concerned with absorbing and retaining as much potential energy as possible.  hansen then released that energy in kinetic form on awake; the acquisition of drummer rory o’connor, kept on retainer by ghostly international before becoming a full-fledged member of tycho, propelled the octet of songs considerably, toying with polyrhythms and busy subdivisions while still letting pockets of ambience bleed into the texture.

it’s fitting, then, that hansen has been so forthcoming about cherry-picking the best of both constructed worlds and inserting them into his latest full-length, epoch.  tycho’s fourth album is an even split between ambient and kinetic, meting out wondrous, pulsating exercises while simultaneously expanding the project’s more pensive arm to turn in thoughtful, incredibly measured interludes as counterpoint.

tycho-epoch

“glider” percolates, “division” stutters, synths on “local” slowly swallow a trebly guitar motif; action verbs are a dime a dozen throughout epoch, a clear-eyed realization of hansen’s near-decade of work.  central melodic figures feel less and less important, as cacophony and fugue structure are more necessary to achieve such a massive, continuous wall of sound.

o’connor’s drumming throughout epoch is an explicit force to be reckoned with.  much of the album’s true nuances don’t present themselves as such, as blistering, metronomic sub-divisions and deft polyrhythmic misdirections are hard to miss.  percussion is the key ingredient to tycho’s secret recipe; epoch reads closer to a rock record than anything else in hansen’s canon, a transformation that can be largely attributed to o’connor’s near-perpetual residence in the foreground of each song’s mix.

epoch has been billed as a dark chapter in the chronicle of tycho, though this ominous tone is, at times, difficult to discern.  maybe it lurks deeper in the shadows, a covert operative.  for those not intimately invested in its creation, epoch reads more like the sunset that can be interpreted from its album artwork: a twilight performance with a final burst of energy before a long, pensive period of hibernation.  perhaps tycho will venture into more overtly murky territory in the future; for now, let epoch soundtrack the waning moments of your day.

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tycho – “epoch”

– featured image courtesy of lauren crew –

scott hansen’s most recent full-length effort under his tycho moniker, 2014’s awake, is a sonic diary outfitted for westward treks via automobile to watch the sun set behind a bank of mountains.  the album’s eight tracks are a perfect union of post-rock grandeur and cascading ambient soundscapes, a mesh of motion and meditation.  after nearly two years of touring endlessly in support of awake, hansen returned home and slowed the project down earlier this year, intent on recording a new album.

it’s not clear if “epoch” is the impending album’s title track, but tycho’s latest single is described as indicative of a darker sonic evolution hansen sees his project taking.  “epoch” still resonates as anthemic – or, more accurately, multiple anthems stacked atop one another to eventually achieve blissful cacophony – but there are enough brooding undercurrents in the track’s murky bass line and hesitant, melancholic synth figures packed in as well to give it a distinctly ominous tone that hasn’t really existed this prominently in tycho’s music before.

the follow-up to awake is gestating; there’s no word on a title or a release date, but the new album will most likely appear sometime next year, probably on tycho’s longtime home, ghostly international.  for now, spend some time with “epoch,” below.