With Tycho’s Awake, out March 18th via Ghostly, the Sacramento-based audiovisual project helmed by Scott Hansen has reached a certain maturity, growing into a three-piece band and achieving, on the new record, an even more refined sense of clarity. Awake takes the evocative, pop-ambient synth work that made 2011′s Dive feel so oddly spiritual (and drew countless comparisons to Boards of Canada) and refocuses it into a cleaner, sharper post-rock context; it feels like an album that should be broadcast at night over the Grand Canyon. I spoke to Hansen about growing out of “the Instagram approach” to music producing, making headphone music work live and why he considers this “the first true Tycho record.”
The Fader: Where am I talking to you now?
Tycho: We’re in the studio, working on the live show. I’m working with the engineer who helped mix the record to translate the recorded stuff live. Last album, we struck the balance between having the live show sound more like the record, but over time, we decided we wanted a more ability to go off the beaten path, and we’re trying to skew the balance back to the performance end of things. It’s kind of headphone music at the end of the day, especially the older stuff, so we’re always trying to punch it up.
The Fader: You’ve called this “the first true Tycho record.” Why do you feel that way, even though you’ve been at it for a little while?
Tycho: I look at it from a career perspective, like what I was doing in my life when I made those other albums. My life revolved mostly around freelance graphic design work, and I wasn’t truly focused on music in the way that I am now. And back then, I hadn’t met musicians that I really resonated with in a songwriting context. Meeting Zac, meeting Rory and meeting Count, the engineer—forming relationships with them where we were comfortable enough to start creating together is what facilitated making this record the way I wanted. It was always my dream for Tycho to get to that point, it just took me 10 years to get there. This is what I wanted Tycho to be all along.
The Fader: So it’s a proper band now.
Tycho: Now I kind of look at at is: I’m in a band, and I play keyboards and guitar and bass, and I also produce that band. You put on two different hats. Working with Zac in particular, we came up with basic ideas and then spent time in different places for a couple weeks at a time working through them, developing songs. Then I went back and produced them out, and we spent a few weeks at the end flashing and burning and doing the hard decisions I wasn’t objective enough to make in the past. From songwriting to arrangement, we worked really closely. Rory, the drummer—I always hear these drum patterns and swells in the music, but I’ve never had the ability or energy to achieve that with electronic programming. He was able to just sit down, hear the music and go.
Read the rest via The Fader
Scott and I have been huge fans of Gardens & Villa since we heard them at a bar in Denver, CO during a Tycho tour so we’re happy be able to share their new album with you in full on ISO50. There’s always a place for a new act that will grow to the size of a band like Grizzly Bear and I think Gardens & Villa could be that band. I remember running across the Sasquatch Festival with some urgency a few years back and stopped in my tracks hearing “Star Fire Power” being played live, it felt like they should have been on the main stage with Bon Iver and Beck.
On a similar sound tip i’d say they sound like Small Black and the meat and potatoes of Youth Lagoon, maybe a sort of city born cousin of Midlake. Dunes has a drive to it but not for pop radio or just indie, they’re some sort of heartthrob that sits in between that is honest to themselves.
Dunes is out now on Secretly Canadian
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Photo credit: Neil Favila
Mark McGuire is back with a gorgeous LP that climbs up and down the desert hills searching for that song that will have you loving him all over again. I remember we’ve had our favorites in the past like Brain Storm (For Erin) or the lo-fi lush Mark that originally brought him to us via Editions Mego or even the noiser Mark that pushed his sound to an almost open and harsher level. This album shows maturity in that sense where things feel like they made in a clear space. The diversity is also there but the expanse within one song reaches new levels for his work which seems to be one of the best routes for his style of music.
“Along The Way” is out on Dead Oceans now
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I’ve collected all the remixes i’ve done and put them in one location and easily downloaded as a WAV or MP3 for everyone. Everything other than the Slowdive remix was a remix swap or a remix for a friend, hope you enjoy in your headphones and share it.
1. Loscil – Hundred (Heathered Pearls’ survey the wreckage remix) 04:48
2. Throwing Snow – Melum (Heathered Pearls’ dormancy remix) 03:33
3. Dirty Beaches – Casino Lisboa (Heathered Pearls’ dead time rework) 04:49
4. Diana – Born Again (Heathered Pearls’ avión remix) 05:38
5. Slowdive – Melon Yellow (Heathered Pearls’ tension rework) 04:46
6. Indian Wells – In The Streets (Heathered Pearls’ nautical remix) 02:59
7. Solar Year – Lines (Heathered Pearls’ serenity remix) 04:00
A more than proper label out of London, The Trilogy Tapes has exposed a lot of heavy lo-fi dance producers. They have a focus and character to them that labels can only dream about. Enjoy the playlist and get nosey around in their shop, definitely worth your time if you collect physical music.
The Trilogy Tapes – SOUNDCLOUD / SHOP (VINYL / TAPE / SHIRTS)
One of my first vinyl purchases of 2013 really held up, Umberto has this way with that horror soundtrack sound that doesn’t veer off into its normal vintage pigeon hole. There’s beautiful synth work all the way to the last song, my personal favorite has to be track 2 “Initial Revelation”.
Please support the artist direct PHYSICAL / DIGITAL
Recap of all top 5 overlooked albums of 2013:
#5 Miles – Faint Hearted
#4 Lawrence – Films & Windows
#3 Soviet Soviet – Fate
#2 Huerco S. – Colonial Patterns
#1 Umberto – Confrontations
Pssssssssssssssssssssh Japanese AM Gold… what?! my mind is jello, my heart is warm, and i’m crushing on this mix. As expected, nothing but stellar work by the Dream Chimney crew.
via Dream Chimney
Every year I become slightly more new age aka my library of nature sounds expands. I found this nice collection of field recordings coming out of New Zealand, if you guys have any links of large collections of nature sounds please share them in the comments below, i’m always looking to buy or add to modest stack of sounds.
Nature Sounds Of New Zealand on Soundcloud