Published Mar 14, 2014While on tour in support of 2011's Dive, Scott Hansen (a.k.a. Tycho) added guitarist Zac Brown (no, not that Zac Brown) and Nitemoves (a.k.a. Rory O'Connor) on drums to help give his synth-layered space jams a textural third dimension. With the intent to recapture this live energy, Hansen brought his makeshift band into the studio to record Awake.
Aside from the front-and-centre prominence of O'Connor's crisp drum sound and Brown's The Edge-inspired guitars, Hansen hasn't wholly reinvented his craft on his fourth full-length, but tracks like the blissful, building "See" and the downbeat, lush "Spectre" prove there are benefits to sounding authentically Tycho-esque. Hansen keeps his synthesizers buried in the mix, blending these billowy tones underneath plucked guitar and steady basslines, pulling out brief but well-constructed solos on tracks like "Awake" and its almost-clone "Apogee." Although Tycho and company seemingly recycle a few ideas on Awake, it's a rewarding, mood-inducing listen that's best digested whole. (Ghostly International)