Words by Sean Walsh

If you think back in American History, there were times of flourishing art, times of prohibition, times of grand culture and literary eloquence, and times of utter disillusionment and despair. While our generation may not have seen all of these things first-hand, we have an understanding through artistic mediums, that has allowed us to not only see the era of different days, but to also feel the difference of times and alienation created by cultural barriers. It is a special skill to be able to move people: allow them to transcend their own previously established states, through music and visual arts. Luckily for us, technology has allowed ISO50 (Tycho) not only to create and share amazing ocular planes with us, but to also create the soundtrack to back his exploration of Earth’s vast openness.

Awake marks a decade in existence for Tycho, but it is the first release to be recorded by the entire band, which Scott Hansen (Tycho) has been working and touring with for several years now. Ever since Science of Patterns, Hansen has created the sounds that are now synonymous with the Tycho moniker. Shimmering-sun baked-synthesizers, guitars, and gentle drum patterns blanket these blindingly-blissful dream-inducing records. And this release is no different. However, this album was named Awake for a reason – this is the album that brings everything to life.

Although Tycho has been releasing music since 2004, it was 2011’s Dive that really showed the world what Tycho was becoming. If you haven’t seen them live, you need to, because the visuals are just as appetizing when accompanied by their rhythmic human counterparts on stage. Did I mention those visuals are done by Hansen as well? And I’m not talking laser beams and kaleidoscopes. I’m talking about visual imagery. Mini-movies that he has created to pulse and groove with the group’s feel. I remember a few years ago watching them at the Music Hall of Williamsburg…some type of glacial-life-aquatic theme engulfed the stage…it was moving, in fact it moved me right into some kind of antarctic weather warp, where I myself felt cold. Indeed, the visuals are a most important component to Tycho’s performance, but when it comes to the musical content of Awake

It’s enjoyable. Standout tracks like ‘Dye’, ‘Apogee’, ‘Montana’, and ‘L’ are all warm and fuzzy, displaying some unique future sounds and the ultimate direction that the band is headed in. The album seems a bit slower than some of the previous releases, and also seems to explore similar auditory themes. While this is ultimately a good thing for Tycho, one can argue that Dive and Awake sound very similar, and they do. Progression does not always have to mean changing your style, but it does require leaving one’s comfort zone. This release is comfortably-safe, and will bring a much larger audience into the forefront of what Tycho has been creating for 10 years now. But it is their next release that will ultimately win or lose their loyal and dedicated supporters. For now, it is safe to stay…

Ghostly International
© March 18th, 2014



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