Tycho, essentially the project of Berkley, CA producer Scott Hansen, have just released their new album,’Epoch’. There’s always question marks about music of this kind as to when it stops being music you concentrate on, and becomes background noise – music to cook to, or have dinner parties to, or soundtrack some creative or building process on cheap documentaries.
Looking at the cover art for the record, it seems to scream simplicity, large areas of colour and simple shapes. In some ways it belies the music contained within, which it at one point ambient, carefree and delicate; at others dark, complex and layered, elements of winding krautrock, infused with the Zak Browns guitar. In other ways though it sums up the record, large blocks of warmth that wash over the palette.
And that’s where Epoch is a success. Whether it’s at it most ambitious and free, as in opener Glider, which just spits out beats and basslines and scatters them everywhere while remianing slippery and loveable at the same time, or Source, which almost falls into post-rock form, with these brushes and sweeps of electronics lighting up the guitar patterns, to the other end of the scale, they manages to keep a focus, and, more importantly, keep your interest.
At that other end of the scale come tracks such as the pulsating Continuum, or the more wispy, ambient Reciever. The best tracks on the record though, are those where Tycho tread a line somewhere between the two. The dark sweeps of Slack and the bass heavy title track two of the tracks that come straight to mind.
It’s this skill, as a producer but also a songwriter (albeit without words) that makes this album work. It may crop up on documentaries or at dinner parties, but its going to be the thing that demands your attention. And that’s got to be good, right?