Tycho Returns to Lincoln Hall
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I showed up at the intimate, packed back room at Lincoln Hall, waiting for Tycho to take the stage, but I was well aware of the buzz. Named to many “Bands to Watch” lists for 2012, I came in with high hopes but low expectations. Bands that generate buzz either really impress me or, equally, really disappoint me. I am very happy to say that Tycho really impressed me, and I will be joining their growing legion of fans that come to their shows not only for the music, but for the overall experience that Scott Hansen and company are able to provide.
Lead singer and founder Scott Hansen was already a well-known graphic artist from San Francisco when he started Tycho, and it is obvious from the music that he treats this as an extension of his artistic vision. As he begins the ambient, down tempo beats, his own art projections light up the stage behind him. This artwork reflects the music. Lush, dreamy landscapes filled with color and patterns reflect the overall mood of the music being played. They help contribute to the ethereal, calm, alternative reality that Tycho’s compositions take the listener to. The song titles, from ‘Daydream’ to ‘Coastal Brake’, help to reinforce the mood and mark the instrumental journey as the night progresses.
Though I label the music as ambient, I can’t say that totally encompasses what you are listening to at a Tycho show. Hansen obviously takes a lot of time and attention to creating a composition that balances both synths and live instrumentation. His songs start off slow, building off simple, synthetic beats. They build, though, into an exciting mix of synths complimented by heavy, thumping percussions, and sleek guitar riffs. Each layer of sound can easily be separated, but together they create a harmonious, upbeat vibe.
I think what works so well for Tycho is that Hansen relies on the emotion of the music to drive his performance. I came away with what felt like a very personal experience, and that is something that I have yet to really find in any live show I have been to. There is a level of self-awareness in the music that I think will help Hansen to continue to evolve, and make this band one that will be around for a long time to come.