Tycho – Dive

12 Dec

My friend Andy recommended this album to me calling it a “solid effort.”  If I were in the business of writing two-word reviews, I could have stopped there.

Tycho (Scott Hansen) is a San Francisco based producer, graphic designer and musician…a sort of modern day, electronic renaissance man.  “Dive” is Tycho’s second LP and evidence of his range of talent.  Aside from gorgeous cover art, the songs themselves force you to  dream up land/seascapes to match the tone: “A Walk” through an icy cave, a hang glide ride over a horse farm “Daydream,” the liquidity of “Coastal Brake” could lend itself to a soundtrack for Ecco the Dolphin.

“Dive” is rich, complex an incredibly cathartic.  Every track is a journey of mood.  It’s also an album that I would recommend listening to on a good pair of headphones.  I listened to it while cleaning the other night and aside from being completely enveloped by the sound, you are able to pick up on percussive nuances and instrument samples that you never knew were there.

Hansen is definitely strong within his comfort zone, and believe me it’s comfortable, but I came away from the album hoping that he would have taken a few more chances.  After a first listen, I though to myself: poor man’s Boards of Canada.  After a second listen, I thought: wow, that was kind of mean.  What Tycho needs is a bit of anxiety or a menacing shadow here and there in order to keep you from getting bored.  You think it’s coming on “Ascension” with the brooding synth loop, but it’s immediately diffused by the sampled guitar and “Alone in Kyoto” feel.  The songs fail to stand apart from one another because they’re similar, and without the potential benefit of vocals, they lack that much more individuality.  You’re given ten wet dreams and left wanting that occasional nightmare.  Never thought I’d say that…

Tycho is clearly talented and very ambitious so I look forward to checking out his future releases.  He’s definitely got the stuff, he just needs to do some stylistic tinkering.

Rating: ***1/2

“Coastal Brake”

I also encourage you to check out Scott Hansen’s portfolio.  You can see the sharp attention to detail and soothing tranquility in his visual art.

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One Response to “Tycho – Dive

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  1. Top 51 Tracks of 2011 « the self-hating hipster - January 22, 2012

    […] was one of the few 2011 albums that I did a full review of this year.  I did enjoy the album overall, but it wasn’t able to stack up against some of […]

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