Scott Hansen sure has come a long way since his days as a solo bedroom artist. It's been little more than a week since its surprise release, and already Tycho's Epoch has garnered much attention and near-universal acclaim. Can you imagine Past Is Prologue ever being met with the same level of publicity?
In reality though, the launch of Epoch didn't set out to attain publicity either: "There is a kind of visceral fulfillment you get from sharing something that you've just created with other people," says Hansen. "We just finished mastering the album in late August, so it will barely be a month old when people hear it. That's a very satisfying feeling as an artist."
The sense of immediacy he describes is part of the reason Tycho has found such success with music fans worldwide. The band, composed of Hansen, long-time collaborator Zac Brown and Rory O'Connor, are masters at the art of intimacy and subtlety. To get a sense of their sound, think the same kind of detail-oriented work and continuity of style that made Boards of Canada and Ulrich Schnauss revered artists in their field. If you've previously listened to Tycho, odds are nine times out of ten you'll be able to pick their sound out of a lineup (courtesy of those melodic guitar lines that only ever seem to float atop the surface of each track's infinite abyss).
It's fair to say Epoch is the crown jewel in Tycho's reigning ambient electronic discography. It nicely rounds out the trilogy of LPs they've released on Ghostly International, which includes 2011's Dive and 2014's Awake, not so much a departure from its predecessors as a further maturation. Opening tracks "Glider" and "Horizon" cement the band's signature melody-driven synth, but the album finds additional depth in pared-down songs like "Receiver" and "Field." Epoch feels like the realization of Hansen's long-term artistic vision, and the album exudes a confidence that clearly shows the band have come into their own.
On Epoch, Hansen, Brown and O'Connor are in the prime of their careers. (Ghostly International)