Tycho’s music evokes an image of a windswept city by the bay. It’s the contrast of robots and waterfalls that makes his Ghostly International debut Dive a compelling piece of art. The album’s mechanical style creates mood and atmosphere that’s feels organic and earthy, while never sacrificing the glitchy integrity of electronic music.
Scott Hansen’s art doesn’t require a sugar-coated description; he’s a consummate artist. One moment a successful graphic designer by the name of ISO50, and the next a calm wanderer through musical expression under the moniker Tycho, Hansen blurs the line between visual and audible art through use of aesthetic haze and nostalgia. His sepia-toned landscapes caught on camera are married to the dusted synthesizers purring like grey-haired animals.
The presence of “old” is so thick in his work that one has to wonder from where he pulls his inspiration. In his own words he describes his second LP as a group of “artifacts from a future which might have more in common with our past than our present.” In reality, Hansen touches upon the enthralling contradictions that make his work so enjoyable to listen to.
Dive graces the fringe of prog-rock, but not enough to classify the album as “progressive,” whereas on tracks like “Elegy,” U2’s delay-heavy sound might be an influence. In the same conflicting fashion, the opening track “A Walk” is led by a bright synthesizer full of promise, but following quickly afterward is the gloomier song “Daydream,” which feels more like a struggle than a beacon of hope. This dance of changing mood is pervasive through all ten tracks and speaks of Hansen’s ability to weave together light and dark themes.
Whether the emotions behind the album are serene or regretful, light or dark, it’s most of the time unclear, but certainly Hansen harbors them deeply. The result is sophomore album that’s far from a couched retreat. Dive proves that Tycho’s music is really just picking up steam, and as surely as the wind blows his steam-punk vision will fascinate listeners in the months to come.
Stream: Tycho – “Hours”