Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Album Review: Tycho - Dive

Album Rating: B
If there’s one thing that electronica artist Tycho does well, it’s making smooth music. Now this isn’t a velvety, sultry R&B, nor is it some form of ‘cool jazz’, no, this is a lush, gorgeous blend of electronic sights and sounds that goes down easy. Scott Hansen has been making this type of music under the Tycho moniker for nearly a decade but surprisingly Dive is only his sophomore record; a follow up to 2006’s exceptional A Past is Prologue. Hansen hasn’t really learned a whole lot of new tricks since then, but hey, when it’s this good there really isn’t a problem. Heavily borrowing from the legendary Boards of Canada, Tycho manages to create incredible compositions with a life all their own, all whilst making it seem so effortless. It’s a beautiful sound, and one which transports the listener into an absorbing world that only Tycho could create.

As stated previously, Dive takes several cues from classic albums such as Music Has the Right to Children. The album is stacked with incredible atmospheres, ebbing and flowing with masterful precision. Nary has a moment gone by where Tycho isn’t challenging with new and interesting textures and sounds. Instruments such as the guitar are thrown in as well, with the inorganic and organic making for a nice dichotomy. Yet “inorganic” should be taken lightly here, as Dive actually feels very warm and comforting, as compared to the cold, calculated sounds that come to mind when one thinks of electronica.  Dive is fairly heavily laden with beats, but it in no way comes across as "dancy."  Instead, it's all very chilled and relaxed; dliberate, but not too anxious.

Dive, despite feeling very natural, must have been meticulously created, as each and every second feels painstakingly cared for. It is this that makes the album such a lovely listen from start to finish. Sure, one could float through the heartfelt sonic waves with ease, and perhaps that was Hansen’s intention, but to do so would be criminal, as missing out on the album’s subtle nuances would be terrible. For example, the very, very subtle breathy sounds behind “Daydream” don’t exactly seem essential, but without them, the song would be flat, and effectively lose its personality. You see nothing seems accidental here, which speaks volumes of Tycho’s dedication to his craft.

To put it simply, Dive is one of this year’s finest electronica offerings. It’s everything a fan of the genre could want, and it does a lot to ease those less familiar with it into the fold. Its blissful sounds coax and calm, and at the end, the listener is left with a remarkable experience worth going through over and over again.


Track List:
1. A Walk
2. Hours
3. Daydream
4. Dive
5. Coastal Brake
6. Ascension
7. Melanine
8. Adrift
9. Epigram
10. Elegy

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