Album Review: Tycho – Simulcast


On 2019’s Weather, his fifth and last album as Tycho, Scott Hansen caused an admittedly minor stir: going somewhat against his own grain, he added the vocals of Hannah Cottrell to the fluid but by now familiar mix of analogue synths, dream pop and chill wave which has defined his sound since the earliest days.

This boundary crossing earned a Grammy nomination, but Hansen wasn’t quite done with the source material, hence the arrival of Simulcast, which proves to be more a re-orientation of it than a full on re-imagining.

Having once played such a pivotal role, Cottrell is released from duty completely, leaving us to admire again undistracted music intended for the neck up. This pleasant arc shuttles from the simple, repeatable patterns of Alright – a blissful, bass driven clone of what was known previously as For How Long – and Cypress, whose original root was Japan and remains indebted to the vintage far eastern equipment on which the first Tycho compositions were written.

Sometimes the tinkering is so subtle it seems almost nothing but the context has been changed, as the parent album’s title-track is left pretty much intact, opening this one whilst closing the other like two sides of the same door, while Easy is also left untouched. At the other end of this looking glass is PCH, which as Pink And Blue announced Weather’s supposedly game changing foray into the mainstream. With the sunshine and surf of California as its muse, the mood borders on glassy, blue-eyed techno.

Surprisingly for a producer whose compositions could disparagingly be described as new, new age, the music here is partially a by-product of the issues caused by the industry’s chequered recent history and uncertain future. Hansen has admitted that Simulcast was an attempt to re-centre his career around his own mental and physical well-being. Its resolution is Stress, (flipping the idea by removing the ‘No’ it possessed before), which in a relatively mournful way colours the perpetual dark and light sides of selling your creativity to strangers for a living.

For those who equally find the prospect of Tycho a little too west coast for true comfort, there’s a still a dependable amount of leeway; Into The Woods’ conception as a homage to its creator’s deep forest hiking in the Redwood pines never quite packing the overtones of menace he intended.

This pathway is at least though a familiar chasm to jump for Tycho regulars, one that requires they clear their minds and instead immerse themselves in what have been usually warmly diffuse, undulating sonic patterns.

This is a mould Weather shifted admirably, and as a companion piece Simulcast is fine enough, but there’s very little here that convincingly makes the case for independence from its parent project.


Andy Peterson

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