Auditory Visuals on Tycho’s ‘Awake’
by Armando Luis Alvarez
Tycho, AKA Scott Hansen, AKA ISO50, is an artist working in both the visual spectrum and the audio field. It’s not easy to draw the line with him, but that may be a good thing. His latest album ‘Awake’ brings new band members, a stripped-down sound, and even more amazing visuals.
Tycho begins the first music video for this album with a minimalist approach: geometric shapes slightly off-center on an off-white background. As the musical layers kick in, so do the visuals: first, a cycling pattern of colored stripes on our geometric friend. Then, as the synths slowly rise, so does a background of densely intricate clouds. Or is it smoke? The ‘Montana’ video is an entirely subjective experience juxtaposing the simplest of concepts: color inside the shapes, emptiness outside.
As the visuals get more intense, constrained within the confines of their geometric borders – yet exploding with such passion – the faintest glimmer of color appears in the white space. Was that my retina burned from staring so deep into Tycho’s blend of liquid, smoke and light? No, that color seeping out is purposeful, too – and as the blank exterior begins to glimmer with the same vibrant colors of these geometric shapes, the purpose of the video seems clear to me. Let your inner glow illuminate the white-washed world around us.
Photo courtesy Ghostly International
As an album, ‘Awake’ feels like a breathe of fresh air. The drums and guitar serve to host the subtle arrangements that Tycho brings to the table. This being his first album with a full band, the experience is bound to be fresh. But this album feels more like the musicians letting the music speak for itself, rather than them trying to make a mark for themselves.
Artwork by Tycho
With the intensity of Rory O’Connor’s steady beats varying only by the slightest degree between bars, and Zac Brown’s honestly seamless guitars (I dare you to tell me where the guitars end and the synths begin), both musicians serve perfectly to support Scott Hansen’s wavering in and out with the sort of ethereal qualities otherwise reserved for purely ambient music. Lots of delay, tickling piano lines and rays of sound sprinkle an otherwise idyllic musical landscape.
Dive Artwork by Tycho
Perhaps it’s Christopher Willits’ electroacoustic influence as production consultant and mastering engineer, but Tycho’s latest album sounds like The Cure or Washed Out on mute, or with your ears between the pillows, hiding away in a cocoon of early morning light. And it feels good to sleep – but recharged from that powerful energy, the light inside can begin to affect the outside world.
Discover more music in IPaintMyMind’s Music Section