As I sit staring out my window at patchily blue, intermittently rainy skies it feels like Scott Hansen intentionally wrote Dive, an album of sun drenched electronica, to fulfil my longing for a(nother) summer that never really was. Autumn is spluttering, and we presage the predicted cold winter. Tycho is from California though, where the weather is clement year round, so I’m just loading it with my own pining really. Still it fits comfortably alongside not just my longing for warmth and sunshine, but a similar mood in electronic music generally at the moment. Warmth is definitely the key here, the warm of the sun on skin primarily, but the warmth of comfort in memory too.
Tycho has said he wants audiences to “get out of their heads”* by “dancing or… whatever”** so long as they’re having an “experience that takes them out of their present mind state, that’s… the goal” (italics mine). Dive is certainly capable of that. The childlike innocence of the albums opening notes soon give way to a fuller less naïve sound, an 80s inflected take on nu-Balearic. Over the course of the album it metamorphoses into an almost Boards of Canada-like hypnagogic swirl. The effect isn’t overly soporific though, the tracks have enough energy about them to both carry you with them, and stick in the memory. Synth lines tumble, phase in and out, while the arrangement creates shifting sands of sound. Use of picked guitar clearly restates the humanity that is the centre of this music. The galloping rhythms bring to mind similar nostalgists such as Yppah.
As well as being a deft electronic musician Hansen is also a sensational graphic designer too (as ISO50). Take a look around his design work/portfolio and you can see the same approach to sound in his work that visually. Strong, bold and distinctive but evocative of another era, an imagined one perhaps. Track titles work perfectly to convey enough to colour the mood, whilst letting the music take centre stage.
Tycho avoids the ‘golden age’ age fallacy that sinks many nostalgia obsessives, and sidesteps the slightly referential tone that label mate Com Truise works to such great, if grimier, effect. Dive is almost the inversion of retro-futurism, celebrating the here and now, living in the moment and realising how missed opportunities become exaggerated by rose-tinted lenses.
* I don’t think he means drugs, necessarily
Dive is released on 7 November, but you can download it right now by clicking here.
This article is a St. Uffido original!