Release Date: Jan 20, 2017
Record label: Ghostly International
Genre(s): Electronic, Downtempo, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Electronic, IDM
Scott Hansen sure has come a long way since his days as a solo bedroom artist. It's been little more than a week since its surprise release, and already Tycho's Epoch has garnered much attention and near-universal acclaim. Can you imagine Past Is Prologue ever being met with the same level of publicity?In reality though, the launch of Epoch didn't set out to attain publicity either: "There is a kind of visceral fulfillment you get from sharing something that you've just created with other people," says Hansen.
Epoch is the final album in a trilogy of albums that Tycho has released over the past 6 years. This began with Dive, an album that put Scott Hansen’s musical project on the tongues and in the ears of audiophiles the world over, and continued with Awake. Those who were expecting Epoch to have the sweeping ethereality that Dive brought to the table will be pleasantly surprised.
Tycho's fourth studio album, Epoch, was given a surprise digital release at the end of September 2016, about a month after it was finished. With this album, Tycho mastermind Scott Hansen completed a trilogy of albums beginning with 2011's Dive and continuing with 2014's Awake. Since its beginning in the early 2000s, the project evolved from an obscure IDM solo venture to the most well-known instrumental electronic rock band of its time, selling out several headlining tours and having its music extensively featured on television (particularly Cartoon Network's Adult Swim).
“I’ve been on this planet a while and never been this contented,” noted Conan O’Brien while playing Hohokum during a 2013 visit to E3. “I spent six weeks with the Dalai Lama and I didn’t feel this good. ” The game is simple: you go around and collect seeds which turn into kites which you and your friends fly around on, and during the Conan segment, O’Brien’s colorful and perhaps too-blissful gaming experience is soundtracked by the fluid, sunshine-through-clouds instrumental thump of “L” by Tycho.
Until quite recently, I found myself no longer able to listen to and enjoy Tycho, the dreamy electronic music project of designer and producer Scott Hansen. It reminded me all too lucidly of jittery and lonely nights writing a seemingly endless dissertation last year. Five coffees deep and an increasing necessity to progress, Tycho’s instrumental soundscapes took the edge off without distraction; their ambience calmed me whilst their driving rhythms kept me focussed.
Nominations for the electronic music Grammy are generally awarded to the year’s least exciting electronic music, and so it proves with this instrumental outfit headed by Californian producer Scott Hansen, whose Epoch is in with a shout for the 2017 prize. Underpinned with Radiohead-style fidgety live drums and topped with arena-hopeful guitar lines, Hansen adds his own flavours – diluted Kompakt pulses, very occasional melodies – to create fussy math-prog, ambient trip-hop and other studies in inconsequence. Tracks like Glider and Local make a reasonable stab at Balearic psychedelia, but don’t inhale, and for all his aspirations to cosmic transcendence, Hansen keeps everything trapped in this dimension with his compressed and airless production.