Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tycho - Dive review

As summer hits the Southern Hemisphere, the release next week of Tycho's new album Dive couldn't be better timed (my commiserations, rest of the world). As with all his previous work, Tycho (producer Scott Hansen) produces sunny ambient numbers that seem to roll on the sparest of concepts but never fail to engage and be memorable. Tycho isn't big on irony or mystique as he gives his tracks names like Daydream, Ascension and A Walk - and they all sound like perfect descriptions for the music. The track Coastal Brake sounds like the perfect song to listen to, surprise surprise, when you're on a coastal break (or coming down watching the sunrise). But while this might sound bleedingly obvious, it is actually refreshing with the general obfuscation and weird names that come with a lot of electronic music.

The album itself sees to be a more coherent concept piece than his previous record Past is Prologue with all the songs piecing together into to a larger conceptual whole. The shimmering sounds of Melanine and the slightly skewered warble of Adrift are two highlights. As Adrift was released as a single a couple of years ago (a double A side with a great tune called From Home) it's surprising that it seems even better in the context of the larger album (as is Coastal Brake - another single from 2009). The title track is an eight minute voyage with unexpected diversions and it's sizable length flies by in a fast paced ambient thrum. It's easy with this kind of record to overstay your welcome but Tycho seems to have enough discernment and instinct of when to push and fall back to make perfectly conceived soundscapes.

Tycho is often unfairly written off as a lesser cousin to Boards of Canada but to be honest, I find his work infinitely more listenable and consistent than BOC (I can hear the hipster kids gasp in horror at such a suggestion). If there's one record that could be the soundtrack to a chilled out 2011 summer, it's this one.


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