Published Oct 01, 2012Joined by a live rhythm section, himself surrounded by a Moog Prodigy and a few other assorted vintage-looking synths and doodads, Scott Hansen (the main man behind Tycho) does not make the kind of easy, button-pushing, preset EDM that deadmau5 infamously declared unskilled. Indeed, it would be easy for the San Francisco graphic designer and producer's Boards of Canada-like IDM chillwave milieu to come across aloof live, if it was merely performed with the standard laptop and MIDI controller set-up, as his recordings tend toward feelings of cool, cinematic nostalgia.
However, with drummer Rory O'Connor and bassist Zac Brown keeping it groovy on the low end, and Hansen playing live free-hand melodies on his synths and occasionally adding electric guitar, they made selections drawn from across his sparse yet consistent catalogue come off as far more dance-friendly than on record. With the focus mostly on Tycho's 2011 album Dive, a couple tracks almost turned into drum and bass, with all due credit to O'Connor's brisk and flavourful percussion, while still maintaining Tycho's overall woozy, shoegaze sheen, a feeling bolstered by the saturated, often mirrored visuals of sea and desert, and kaleidoscopic fractals of alternately happy and thoughtful faces.
Granted, the venue wasn't near capacity, being a late show on a Sunday night, but Hansen was made to feel overly appreciated on his only Canadian stop this tour. A wasted guy up front screamed satisfaction between songs, incessantly reached out for rather aggressive handshakes with Brown and Hansen, and even stroked Hansen's hair a bit as he bent over his primary synth to work a few parameters. The performer handled it well, though, smiling at the head-pat and later saying the whole experience was all too much, in a complimentary sense. It would be surprising if Tycho didn't make Vancouver a regular touring stop.