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All posts by Scott Hansen

Scott Hansen is a San Francisco based artist (ISO50) and musician (Tycho). Links: Tycho on Facebook ISO50 Twitter

Epoch Artwork Lineage

Posted by Scott

epoch-process-head

The Epoch is a hinge. We tend to follow a linear trajectory until a point at which we realize that through free will the path can be bent and redirected.

I’ve been very busy for the past year or so working on a new album so it’s been a while since I’ve posted. Now that the new Tycho album — Epoch — is out I wanted to write a little about the meaning and origin of the artwork. I worked as a graphic designer for 14 years until I decided to pursue music full time so the visual element of Tycho has always been at the core of the project for me. I think the imagery tells a story that the music can’t fully articulate, and vice versa.

Past is Prologue (2006), Daydream (2007), Dive (2011), Awake (2014)

Past is Prologue (2006), Daydream (2007), Dive (2011), Awake (2014)


The sun disc, both literally and as an icon, has always been at the center of the artwork. From Sunrise Projector and on I’ve used the sun and circle as a metaphor for life; the sun being the life giver and the circle symbolizing the closed loop, the interconnectedness of the human experience with the physical world.

 

·  The Trilogy Begins

Dive (2011)

Dive (2011)


While I had explored a lot of these themes previously, I feel that Dive was the beginning of a trilogy of albums and so was the starting point for a narrative and symbology which have become central to the Tycho identity.

The cover for Dive was a foray into maximalism combining photography and design. I wanted to evoke the sense of being on an unavoidable path, one from which deviation was impossible. I wanted the viewer to be pulled into the image and be drawn toward the sun. I think this design speaks to the music in that it felt like the beginning of a journey and the multi-layered composition echoed the sonic aesthetic of the music. I spent quite a bit of the next couple years refining this style and creating various collage type images.

Dive Single (2012) cover in style of the Dive full length artwork

Dive Single (2012) – Another cover in the style of the Dive full length cover

 

·  Enter Minimalism and The Trapezoid

Concert Poster (2012)

Concert Poster (2012)


As a graphic designer I have always had a deep appreciation for minimalism and the simplified, efficient expression of ideas through form and color. But as a visual artist working within the context of Tycho my output had typically trended toward almost painterly styles, multilayered collages which were anything but minimal. But at some point after the release of Dive I decided that I wanted to get back to my design roots and bring a more simplified, refined style to the project. The beginning of this shift was around 2012 when we played The Independent in San Francisco. This was meant to be a simplification of the same path seen on the cover of Dive, the colors a reflection of the sun into that path. This was also one of my first uses of the trapezoid shape which would become core to the symbology of Tycho.

 

·  The Awake Era

Awake (2014)

Awake (2014)


Dive was in many ways a breakthrough record for Tycho: it was when I first formed the live band and we began touring extensively. It also marked the period when I was finally able to quit doing freelance design and focus solely on the music and the imagery surrounding Tycho. After a couple years of touring it came time to make a new album and I knew this would be a pivotal release, quite literally a make-or-break record. I wrestled with the art direction for months before finally deciding to go in an entirely new direction from Dive and earlier works and create a minimalist direction for the release. I had always felt strongly about the spectrum and trapezoid from the 2012 poster and so I revisited the concept and incorporated the sun imagery to bring it into storyline.

Both the circle and the trapezoid symbols featured heavily in the videos and visuals for Tycho during the Awake tours (2014-2015)

Montana Visuals (2014)

Montana Visuals (2014)

Montana Video (2014)

Montana Video (2014)

 

During the Awake album cycle I continued down this path and lots of imagery followed for show posters and releases.

Concert Poster (2014)

Concert Poster (2014)


Montana Single (2014)

Montana Single (2014) – the trapezoid combined with the triangle

 

·  The Darkness

The overall direction for Awake was very light and halfway through the cycle I started shifting things into a darker space for contrast and to foreshadow the next album.

Awake Deluxe Edition (2014)

Awake Deluxe Edition (2014)


Concert Poster (2014)

Concert Poster (2014)


Awake Remixes (2015)

Awake Remixes (2015)


Concert Poster (2016)

Concert Poster (2016)


To compliment the darker themes for the Spectre and See singles I introduced the moon as the central element in place of the sun.
Spectre Single (2014)

Spectre Single (2014)


Spectre - Bibio Remix (2014)

Spectre – Bibio Remix (2014)


Tycho - See (2014)

Tycho – See (2014)

 

·  The Epoch

Awake had been out for over two years and it was time to start thinking about the next release. Up until this point, when doing minimal compositions I had been using textures and distressing to give some depth to the images and break up solid fields of color. For the next phase I wanted to further simplify and remove any extraneous elements. I wanted to cut to the core of the message and try to distill things into a language of basic symbols.

Artwork for the first single from Epoch: Division (2016). This was designed after the album artwork and was meant as a transition which would foreshadow some of the elements and colors that would follow with the full length release. While hinted at the minimalism of the final release, still present here were the paper textures I had been using previously.

Artwork for the first single from Epoch: Division (2016). This was designed after the album artwork and was meant as a transition which would introduce the elements and colors that would follow in the full length release.

Musically, this album was about circling back while maintaining forward motion; revisiting and refining the concepts of earlier albums with a view to the future. My primary goal was to incorporate the color scheme of the very first Tycho release: The Science of Patterns EP (2002). I also wanted to revisit the simplicity of that artwork as Epoch was all about focus and efficiency, chiseling away anything which was not absolutely necessary.

The Science of Patterns EP (2002)

The Science of Patterns EP (2002)


I also wanted to draw upon the two core symbols of the project: the circle and the trapezoid. But this time I wanted the circle to represent the moon, a body reflecting the light of the sun. In this way it was a metaphor for this album, a reflection of the previous works presented in a new form.

The following are selected iterations of the Epoch cover design which led to the final version.

The initial concept (2015)

The initial concept (2015)


An early concept incorporating a more three dimensional look. I ended up leaving this in favor of a more simplified form but retained the addition of the circle

An early concept incorporating a more three dimensional look. I ended up leaving this in favor of a more simplified form


The first simplification, the horizon line is still subtly implied

The first simplification, the horizon line is still subtly implied


A tangental concept exploring the incorporation of more color. This ended up being the impetus for creating the alternate cover series for the countdown (discussed later)

A tangental concept exploring the incorporation of more color. This ended up being the impetus for creating the alternate cover series for the countdown (discussed later)


Another alternate with more color and a defined horizon line

Another alternate with more color and a defined horizon line


Tycho - Epoch (2016)

The final form: Tycho – Epoch (2016)


In the end I decided to keep the image ambiguous, the viewer should decide exactly what it was they were looking at and ascribe their own meaning to it. This meant stripping the image down to the essential elements, leaving a simple icon.

I felt that the power of this image would be in its simplicity and also in its portability. It could adapt to many form factors with ease and felt more like a modular system than a singular image. At this point you have to take into account that the vast majority of people will experience album artwork at a tiny square on a smartphone. At this scale a lot of nuance and detail will be lost. This is not to say that I intended to oversimplify purely for this reason, but it is a consideration.

 

·  Release

Epoch Packaging

Epoch Vinyl Packaging

Epoch was released 30 days after completion as a surprise, as such there wasn’t enough time to have vinyl and CDs produced; only digital versions were available on release day. As a stopgap until the vinyl arrived, we decided to offer a custom slipmat with pre-order purchase at retail outlets. More about the release strategy in The New York Times piece With Vinyl, the Musician Tycho Establishes a Physical Presence

Epoch Slipmat

Epoch Slipmat

For the Awake release I cut up a print of the cover art into squares and released it as nine panels as a way to count down to the release. For Epoch I wanted to create several alternate versions of the cover art to use for build up. This release was not announced ahead of time so it was fun to slowly release elements of the design without people fully understanding what was coming. Here are a few examples of the alternate versions.

Tycho Descent Burning Man Sunrise Set Cover

Tycho Descent Burning Man Sunrise Set Cover


06-division

06-division


08-local

08-local


02-horizon

02-horizon


04-receiver

04-receiver

All in all this was an enjoyable and fulfilling process for me as a designer. I’m looking forward to the next couple years, creating future permutations and working with this design/color system. The first example of this is below, the poster for the show at The Fonda in LA.

Tycho Fonda LA Concert Poster

Tycho Fonda LA Concert Poster

Thanks for reading, if you have any questions leave a comment and I’ll do my best to reply.

Tycho: Epoch Album Out Now

Posted by Scott

00-epoch

00-epoch


New Tycho album Epoch out now.
Download it here

I’m very pleased to announce the release of the fourth full length Tycho album, Epoch. 10 years ago next month the first Tycho record, Past is Prologue, was released and it’s been an incredible journey. There’s nothing I could possibly say to fully express my deep gratitude to all of you for making this past decade possible. I truly hope you enjoy this music and make it your own.

We finished the album less than a month ago and decided to forego the typical release schedule and just put the record out as soon as possible. We’re all very excited for you to be able to hear it so soon after it was completed.
Thank you and enjoy!

01-glider

01-glider

02-horizon

02-horizon

03-slack

03-slack

04-receiver

04-receiver

05-epoch

05-epoch

06-division

06-division

07-source

07-source

08-local

08-local

09-rings

09-rings

10-continuum

10-continuum

11-field

11-field

Tycho DJ Sets

Posted by Scott


Have some Tycho DJ sets coming up here in San Francisco and a short US tour. Hope to see you out!

Tycho DJ Tour 2016

FEB 10 – CLUB VINYL – DENVER, CO
FEB 11 – BANG BANG – SAN DIEGO, CA
FEB 12 – GEM & JAM FESTIVAL – TUCSON, AZ
FEB 13 – EXCHANGE LA – LOS ANGELES, CA
FEB 16 – BARDOT – MIAMI, FL
FEB 17 – FLASH – WASHINGTON, DC
FEB 18 – INPUT AT OUTPUT – BROOKLYN, NY
FEB 19 – THE MID – CHICAGO, IL
FEB 20 – POPULUX – DETROIT, MI
MAR 04 – 1015 FOLSOM – SAN FRANCISCO, CA
MAR 05 – 1015 FOLSOM – SAN FRANCISCO, CA

Tycho Burning Man Sunrise Set 2015

Posted by Scott

Tycho-Elsewhere-2015

Elsewhere – Tycho sunrise dj set from the Dusty Rhino at Burning Man on Thursday, September 3rd, 2015.

Don’t really know how to express my gratitude for the experience with everyone out there this year, it was so perfectly beautiful. Thanks to everyone who made it possible. See you next time!

Special Thanks to: David and The Space Between camp, Dane and the Dusty Rhino crew, Christopher Willits, Kirk & Karey, Nitemoves (Rory O’Connor), Heathered Pearls (Jakub Alexander), Rob Garza, Kiyoka, Katie, Seth, Tobias, and the whole Disco Space Shuttle crew.

RIP Mike Reigle and Jon Horvath

Track Listing:

Brothomstates – Mdrmx
Photek – T’Raenon
Casino Versus Japan – It’s Very Sunny
Dominik Eulberg – Datenübertragungsküsschen ( Sistema Remix)
Dauwd – Kolido
Cubenx – First Wave Front
Jon Hopkins – Open Eye Signal
Daniel Bortz – Tomorrow We Start a New Life Again
Few Nolder – Clouds (Boso Reversion)
Daniel Avery – Knowing We’ll Be Here
Daniel Bortz – Monkey Biznizz
Downtown Party Network – What You Need
John Tejada – Orbiter (Simian Mobile Disco Mix Version 2)
Dauwd – And
Jamie XX – Gosh
Aphex Twin – Avril 14th
Boards of Canada – ROYGBIV

<<<< SUNRISE >>>>

Bibio – Lover’s Carvings (Bruno Be & Eddie M Remix)
Roosevelt – Sea (Dub)
Downtown Party Network – No Drama Afterhours
Telephones – Blaff
Tame Impala – The Moment
Tycho – Awalk

Tycho Mix For Vice

Posted by Scott

vice

Tycho – Vice Mix

TRACK LISTING:
Telefon Tel Aviv – The Birds
Apparat – Arcadia
Tstewart – Untitled
Bonobo – Flashlight
Jamie XX – Girl
Dreams – Bloodsport
Howlings – Hearing Voices
Jai Paul – Jasmine
Dusty Brown – Hide No Signs
Caribou – Silver
Blackhall & Bookless – Kevins Spacey (Virginia Remix)
Dauwd – Moiety
Beacon – Fault Lines (Dauwd Remix)
Spoon – Inside Out (Tycho Remix)

TYCHO AWAKE AUSTRALIA / ASIA TOUR 2015
30 DEC | Marion Bay, AU | Falls Music and Arts Festival
31 DEC | Lorne, AU | Falls Music and Arts Festival
01 JAN | Sydney, AU | Field Day
02 JAN | Byron Bay, AU | Falls Music and Arts Festival
04 JAN | Busselton, AU | Southbound
08 JAN | Melbourne, AU | The Hi-Fi
10 JAN | Sydney, AU | The Hi-Fi
14 JAN | Kuala Lumpur, MY | Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre
15 JAN | Singapore, SP | Victoria Theatre
16 JAN | Hong Kong, HK | Music Zone @ E-Max
17 JAN | Shanghai, CH | Mao Livehouse
20 JAN | Beijing, CH | Yu Gong Yi Shan
23 JAN | Taipei, TW | The WALL Live House
24 JAN | Seoul, KO | Rolling hall
29 JAN | Tokyo, JP | O-East
30 JAN | Nagoya, JP | Quattro
31 JAN | Osaka, JP | Soma
03 FEB | Manila, PH | The Theater at Solaire Resort