Photo from iTunes.Apple.com
By Joe Goncalves
Tycho, an American ambient music project led by Scott Hansen, surprised fans with the sudden release of “Epoch,” its first album since 2014’s “Awake.”
As an avid follower, seeing his name pop up under “New Music” on Apple Music felt like Christmas morning.
“Epoch” was time well spent. Tycho expanded its music horizons and deepened its complex soundscapes, pushing the tone of “Epoch” to an entirely new level.
“All of my work is intended to be evolutionary and iterative,” Hansen said in an interview with thelineofbestfit.com.
“Epoch” took some of the free flowing ambience that was prevalent in “Dive“ and the complexities that emerged in “Awake.” Hansen successfully blended these ideas into a concise representation of who Tycho is as an artist.
Many songs in “Epoch” feature a more upbeat tone compared to his past releases, especially in “Horizon” and “Source.” There has also been a noticeable increase in live percussion. The drums have been pushed to the forefront, evident in songs such as the sixth track, “Division.”
“Epoch”‘s flow does not seem to move in an arc. It has peaks of valleys of intensity, but it simply carries the listener along, suspended in its ambient limbo.
Tycho conceptualized this album as the soundtrack of “a trip to the American Southwest”, an aesthetic that corresponds perfectly with “Epoch,” Its serene and driving music provides support to the visuals of minimal landscapes and setting suns. Certain tracks such as “Local” invoke a sort of synesthesia. The music sounds “warm” and brings a visual scenery to the mind of the listener.
Tycho is also a graphic designer by trade and has designed all his album art as well as the majority of his promotional art. The real personal connection between the art and the music adds to the tone of his albums dramatically.
The album art of “Epoch” sticks with the minimalist design of his former album “Awake.” However, it has changed to a much warmer design with the solid red background and geometric forms in the foreground. He goes into much further detail about his design process on his blog.
The titles of instrumental music hold much more weight than they would on your average song. “Epoch”, defined as “a period of time, typically marked by notable events,” really encapsulates what this entire album is all about.
Tycho’s work is a flourishing process. “Epoch”, in particular, is the apex of Tycho’s work up to this point. With this release, it feels like it could be the start of something new as well.
“Epoch” is available for purchase on Tycho’s website, and is also streaming on Spotify and Apple Music.