San Francisco-based Scott Hansen, also known as Tycho and ISO50, is a multi-talented visual artist and musician.
Which, in turn, automatically makes him better than you and me. Not really. Okay, maybe a little. What it actually means is that he spends a lot of time in front of a computer, or messing with electronics. I assume, anyway.
As Tycho, he has released three full-length albums, two of which appear on this year’s list: today’s album, Dive from 2011, and Sunrise Projector, from 2004. I did not include 2006’s Past is Prologue because I do not own it. Whoops.
Dive checks in at 10 tracks, and I’m of the thinking that it’s a perfect summer record. Because it’s an instrumental, it’s difficult for me to describe it as anything more than 45 minutes of hazy, meandering gems. If you’re familiar with the instrumental work of Washed Out or Toro y Moi, or the catalogue from the Ghostly International label, you have a general feel of what to expect.
The problem that inevitably listeners will run into with an album like Dive is the feeling of conscious perception of sameness. A lot of these songs will run together in your mind because of just how closely some resemble their song brethren. Take, for example, my two favorite tracks from this album: “A Walk” and “Daydream”. If you’ve not listened to either of the tracks, you’d be hard pressed to separate the two from each other if you listened to them back to back.
Which isn’t a bad thing, per se – it just means that there are extended periods of this album where there isn’t much to break it up. If you’re looking for background noise, or perhaps a soundtrack to your short film, look no more. But if you’re looking for an in-depth, lyrical experience of a lifetime, I’d recommend elsewhere.
This is exactly the kind of music I want to fill my summer solstice, though. Fuzzy, electronic-based, keyboard-driven goodness. It’s a gem of an atmospheric, drive-time album.
From Tycho’s DIve, this is the title track, “Dive” –
Standout tracks: “A Walk” and “Daydream”
Weakest track: Not one track in particular – just a general feeling of lack of identity.
RIYL: Chillwave, post-rock, ambient, downtempo, shoegaze. Washed Out, Toro y Moi, Neon Indian, Boards of Canada, M83.