For over a decade now, Tycho represented the alias of Scott Hansen, but his second LP for Ghostly International, Awake, has seen the solo project evolve into a full band. It's a record situated in the present, exploring Hansen's own personal ideas more than it draws from his influences. “This is, in many ways, the first true Tycho record,” says the San Francisco-based artist, and one listen to the matured post-rock soundscapes confirms the notion.
During the extensive tour for 2011's Dive LP, Tycho's sound began to coalesce with his live band into a percussive, organic whole. Guitarist Zac Brown rejoined Scott for the tour, but it was particularly the addition of drummer Rory O’Connor that ultimately sent Hansen back to the studio with a more precise vision. “After the tour, I decided that I wanted to capture the more energetic, driven sound of the live show on the next album,” the producer recalls. Bringing musicians into Tycho’s creative process was a step towards expanding his songwriting and pushing the project beyond itself.
Scott and Zac began fleshing out the structure of Awake in a cabin near Tahoe during the winter of 2012, though everything clicked once Rory joined them in the hills of Santa Cruz. “It crystallized the vision of how the drums would come to the forefront on this record,” explains Hansen. A more streamlined and concise sound was achieved with the organic instruments joining the mix. Collaborative songs like “Montana” and “Awake” are a notable departure from Tycho’s previous material, while “See” and “Dye” echo ideas from previous releases. With engineer Count Eldridge, who also worked on Dive, the team fixated on pulses that might've been previously hidden, revitalizing the music with distinct bass, guitar, and drum patterns.
Also known as designer ISO50, Hansen’s visual and musical creativity has dovetailed throughout the course of his career. “This is the first time in my life I've dropped everything to concentrate on one artistic pursuit,” notes the busy artist. Previous Tycho releases came to fruition when a group of songs gradually neared completion, but Awake marks a concerted effort to focus Hansen's skills and expression into a coherent body of work. And the critics respondedto the music's renewed clarity of purpose with an outpouring of praise. Outlets such as Pitchfork, VICE, Paste, and Filter lauded the ambitious and evocative production in Awake, with Consequence of Sound describing it as "a compelling gallery of electronic minimalism whose emotional depth requires a rich listen." So you can understand why Ghostly decided that a deluxe edition of the record was necessary.
Awake (Deluxe Edition) dares not alter the original flow of Tycho's eight-song tracklist, and instead adds four remixes to the dusky collection, as well as new artwork by Hansen himself. The new music includes versions of four album cuts reworked by Com Truise, Beacon, Warp affiliate Bibio, and Christopher Willits, whose remix of "Montana" is previously unreleased. For some, this record will serve as a much-deserved victory lap after the banner year Tycho has had, and for others, it will be their first introduction to the detailed expanse of Awake's sepia-hued music. But no matter the entry point, Awake (Deluxe Edition) offers a fertile place for listeners to immerse themselves in the most accomplished Tycho album to date.
As Tycho, Scott Hansen blends swirling melodies into vaguely triumphant arcs that crisscross between stuttering beats and vocal samples, creating rolling sonic landscapes that extend into the hori...check out Tycho's page and other releases