Review: Tycho – Dive (2011)

Today we welcome our newest contributor, Kellie to the Mezzic Family! Kellie has been living in Atlanta for 10 years, although part of her heart will forever remain in Pittsburgh where she was born. Music is everything to her, leading her on an endless search for new artists, as well as making her an avid supporter of the local Atlanta music scene. There is rarely a conscious hour of her day that doesn’t involve listening to and loving music.

San Francisco artist, musician and producer, Scott Hansen, is Tycho. After two full length releases, Sunrise Projector (2003) and Past Is Prologue (2006), Tycho spent the next four years releasing selected singles that highlighted the new direction his music was taking. Each passionately melodic single built the foundation on which his past 2011 full length release, Dive, stands. After playing very few shows and festivals over the past few years, Tycho was able to reacquaint himself with his fans, as well as bring his sound to newcomers while opening for Little Dragon on a number of their tour dates in 2011. Given the timing, it is as if he is being completely reborn in this album.

The album includes three previously released singles along with seven unreleased tracks arranged in a way that places the listener in the tranquil beginning of morning and lays them to bed under a mystic starlit sky. The opening, “A Walk”, slowly rises from sleepy rhythms and sweet, whispery vocal samples to an upbeat,  jubilant tone that is maintained throughout the first half of the album. “Dive”, the title track, is unique in that it glides along with bright, seamlessly placed vocal samples, along with layer upon layer of stuttering beats, subtle rattles, and nostalgic synths that encompass the modernized retro feel that Tycho does so well.

[soundcloud url=http://soundcloud.com/tycho/tycho-coastal-brake]

He hits the arch with “Coastal Brake”, a steadily swelling track that sets the tone for the come down. The remainder of the album descends into more downtempo tracks, with a focus on steady driving beats, sexy bass lines, and slow dancing melodies. Romantic sensuality comes with, “Adrift”, a six minute symphony of subdued, tranquilizing tones and a beat that almost forces your eyes to close and your body to sway. The ending, “Elegy”, is like the close of a long perfect day, with multiple guitar samples that would accompany a beach bonfire under starlit sky.

What sets Tycho apart from similar ambient style artists, like Boards Of Canada or Autechre , is simplicity. There is a sense of effortlessness and ease that is instantly alluring. No moment ever seems contrived. As with many instrumental artists, it’s difficult to maintain a signature sound throughout numerous tracks while keeping each one sounding different from the one before. Dive is clearly a set by the same artist, but although the sounds are sometimes repetitive, the method in which each song is knitted together is entirely different. Each single could easily be combined into one epic piece that would never become tedious or uninteresting, and that was the most pleasant surprise of all. It makes you want to listen, intently, and each trip through will unveil a newness that will keep you coming back for more.

Dive isn’t just a collection of songs, it’s a serene journey through all of the best parts of life. Hansen paints a complete audible picture of awe-inspiring landscapes and burning horizons, visualized through his stunning album art. Also a well known designer, Hansen creates all of his own artwork and many concert posters, along with a huge portfolio of breathtaking photography. His full portfolio can be viewed on his personal blog, ISO50.  Seeing Scott Hansen through his art makes this Tycho album even more impressive.

Tycho
Official | iTunes

Rating: 8.3/10
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