Published in Issue 138 of 5 Mag. It was announced this week that Epoch was nominated for a Grammy in Best Dance/Electronic Album alongside Louie Vega Starring… XXVIII. Congratulations to Tycho & Ghostly.

A Fall tour was a key indication that something was coming and the package has arrived. Epoch is the new 11 track album from Tycho, whose pronouns have become entirely inconsistent from album to album and tour to tour. Tycho’s last album, 2014’s Awake, saw the transformation of “Tycho” – a producer named Scott Hansen, fairly conventional and all – to a live band touring behind an album that seemed made for live performance by one. Meandering, atmospheric: you could almost visualize the songs that would lend themselves to wild live jams, identify the lulls and slots and peaks and valleys that just invited off-script improvisation within them.

I’m not sure of the meta-state of Tycho but that punishing schedule of gigs has shaped Epoch in multiple ways, starting first with the song structure and arrangement. Tracks reflect the manner in which a band might rehearse: a lush synth rolls over like a wave, growing in intensity as the drums, bass and other instruments join in one-by-one. This as well as some leitmotifs and other repeating references make Epoch somehow feel more solid, more whole-of-one-piece than Awake.

And Tycho’s sonic palette remains instantly recognizable. By 1:30 into “Glider,” you have no question this was made by Tycho – the synth and wobbly bass just sounds so characteristic, the overall effect so progressively optimistic that you can be sure no one else could have done this.

So many of the songs have unexpected shifts, abrupt changes in tone that frustrates expectations so many times that in a broader sense it exceeds them. I won’t be the first to point the epic scale of the title track “Epoch” – a piece I’ve listened to about 15 times since it was released 5 days ago and still haven’t fully digested. It represents its namesake album in miniature: a thrilling adventure to some strange and unusual places with a guy (or guys) that by now have become as familiar as an old and trusted friend. There’s enough here to keep everyone busy for awhile.

 

Published first in 5 Magazine Issue 138, featuring Dave Pezzner, Jeff Derringer, a tribute to Earl Smith of Acid House pioneers Phuture, mixes and interviews from Boorane, Jay Hill, Tim Zawada & more. Become a member of 5 Magazine for First & Full Access to Real House Music.