Some Tycho News

Posted by Scott

Above is some (poorly shot on a phone, sorry) test footage from the new visuals set for the Tycho live show (next one is this Thursday, 4/7 in SF). The song is from the forthcoming album. It’s not all completely tightened up yet but you get the idea. I recently stripped down the entire live set — audio and video — and started from scratch. With the new album pretty much wrapped up I decided to rework the visuals to go with all the new material and to have everything work better with the new live band. What you’re seeing is VDMX effecting / compositing video in real-time on a Macbook Pro. Everything is being triggered / synced by another machine via MIDI over IP running Reaper which is handling all the audio duties.

I’ve been using VDMX for years now but just recently switched to Reaper as my DAW for recording and decided to use it for the live shows as well (Was never happy with Ableton. It’s a great app but it just didn’t fit my specific needs / workflow). It’s been a very freeing experience to say the least. Being able to use the same software in the studio and on stage has helped immeasurably and opened up some possibilities that didn’t exist before. Here’s hoping it all works as smoothly on Thursday (the first Tycho show to feature the new album and visuals) as it has been during rehearsals.

I also wanted to take this time to give a bit of a progress report on the new Tycho album. It feels like forever since I started, but everything has finally come together. Things took a lot of twists and turns; a lot has changed and some songs have been shelved while new ones have taken their place. But I think the album is now — finally — what I envisioned it to be when I started this process some two years ago. All that is left to do now is tie up some loose ends and complete the mixing / mastering phase and things should be ready to go. With label schedules and all that I’d imagine a release date sometime after this summer.

Thanks to everyone for your patience and support over this past couple years. You have afforded me the ability to focus on my work in a way I was never able to before, and for that I am extremely grateful.

70 Comments Leave A Comment


Fairylight says:

April 5, 2011 at 2:24 am

You can be proud,Scott.
The track sounds (and looks)fantastic. It’s hard to be a perfectionist,I can tell.
I look forward to the album,and good luck with your show.


hil says:

April 5, 2011 at 2:40 am

Hi Scott that looks and sounds great. Are you triggering VDMX with midi over ip from reaper? Or is it on the same machine?


NEOkeitaro says:

April 5, 2011 at 3:10 am

Finally some news! :)

I have to say, love what we’ve heard/seen so far. I always wondered though, where do you get the videos you use for your shows? I understand you use VDMX (I just recently started using it, but still a bit lost), but are the footage your own or do you find them in some stock video places or something?

Your use of actual photography or videos into your designs always amazed me, as somehow you always manage to make them look very “ISO50″ish, if I may say.

Again, great job :)


T.N. Tobias says:

April 5, 2011 at 5:25 am

The new track sounds amazing. I can’t wait to be jamming to that while driving around town. It’s too bad you don’t make it out to the midwest, I’d pay good money to see those visuals live.


A.karperyd says:

April 5, 2011 at 5:26 am

Why Reaper ?
Just interested.
i usually use Logic. just by historical reason i think,
and i have not found any reason to swich,
i have live, and Record ( propellerheds )


A.karperyd says:

April 5, 2011 at 5:26 am

Why Reaper ?
Just interested.
i usually use Logic. just by historical reason i think,
and i have not found any reason to swich,
i have live, and Record ( propellerheds )


Rob McDougall says:

April 5, 2011 at 6:10 am

Hey Scott,

Did you give VDMX5 b8 a shot yet? They’ve just rewritten the whole thing! I feel slightly lost and I’ve been using b7 for ages!


Daniel Carvalho says:

April 5, 2011 at 7:11 am

Finally some news. Very keen to give the new album a listen.

I’m hoping a certain song has avoided the cut and is going to be on the album. A song where you used a little track from it in a Layer Tennis match, and ever since then, I’ve been wanting to hear the whole thing.


Craig says:

April 5, 2011 at 7:41 am


Great post. The visuals look are solid.

Did you shoot the footage yourself? How long did it take to compile all the footage?

Please come to the midwest on when you tour the album. I would drive several hours to Minneapolis, MN or Lawrence, Kansas to see the show. There are venues that would be great.


nugoose says:

April 5, 2011 at 7:52 am

Great stuff, can’t wait for the album, stuff is going to be bliss!

Some footage from your upcoming live show would be nice *roll eyes* just sayin’


Sean says:

April 5, 2011 at 7:57 am

As always, these are the most beautiful visualizations I’ve seen. Look forward to the new album. Also, ditto Bryan. Come to Chicago soon.


donewithcaps says:

April 5, 2011 at 8:00 am

wow, awesome work! great to receive some news about the new album. can’t wait to hear it!


Ben says:

April 5, 2011 at 8:59 am

I am a long time fan of your music so i don’t want this to come off badly. it doesn’t seem like your shows involve very much (musical) performance, so using ableton would seem pretty superfluous. Curious to know how you are utilizing Reaper.


Lauren says:

April 5, 2011 at 9:30 am

So beautiful! Come to Denver/Boulder. ;) Or maybe I might be lucky enough to catch a show back in SF sometime… I love this…


Tyler says:

April 5, 2011 at 10:41 am

Thanks for the update! So refreshing to hear some new Tycho material. If only this could come out in the summer .. this track has such a summer vibe to it.


Keith says:

April 5, 2011 at 11:09 am

release date after the summer?…damn, was hoping it would be out sooner…can we at least get another single out in the interim?…the anticipation is becoming unbearable…


golukas says:

April 5, 2011 at 11:15 am

so wooow! tnks a lot Scott, finally after a long time there is a new Tycho album!!, believe me Im waiting for that, Im a seriously lover hehe of your style, music and visual work, is an incredible news.. so I hope some day launch to SF for stay in the Tycho live show, bytheway is there some chance to live sometime this Tycho live show in México city?
well hehe sorry im surprised with this incredible news, and Im thinking and exciting about the cover of this new release wooow and all the the new material.
have a great one Scott! : )


bitbin says:

April 5, 2011 at 11:21 am

Great news! Can you tell us a bit about how you are using the MIDI.For example, it looks as though some snare hits are sending MIDI info from reaper to the VDMX. This in turn is effecting the contrast. What else is it doing?

I would also be interested to know just how much you are doing as opposed to just hitting play in reaper.



jon says:

April 5, 2011 at 11:32 am

really inspiring stuff! thanks for the details. i’ve been thinking of ways to incorporate video into my live set, and this stuff is exactly what i’d like to do. now if only you lived in NYC and wanted to collab!!

please bring the show to new york!


Scott says:

April 5, 2011 at 11:47 am

Thanks everyone for the feedback…

This is just some test footage so what you’re hearing is the album version of the song and not the show version with live instrumentation. During the live set visuals are controlled a number of ways. There are Roland triggers on the drum kit which, in addition to triggering audio samples, can modulate parameters / trigger video clips in VDMX. The flashes you’re referring to are actually solid color frames being faded in very quickly. The layers above are in addition mode so it gives it that nice contrast/saturation look. There are 4 decks total, 3 for video clips and one for effect type clips like the solid colors and flashes.

As for Reaper, it’s mostly handling the effecting / mixing of all of our instruments on stage (couple guitars, bass, drums, SPD-pad, some synthesizers etc..). Using SWS marker actions different effects and parameters are changed at different points in the song. Reaper is in turn controlled by a midi control surface.

As for the various cities people mentioned, there will be a proper tour soon and we will be getting all over the place.


mat says:

April 5, 2011 at 11:59 am

This is literally amazing!! I would gladly wait another two years if that’s what you need to share this master piece… always love Tycho and the aesthetics to all Scotts work.

Good stuff and you should bring it here to the UK/Europe!!

Cheers, Mat.


Brendan says:

April 5, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Love the update! I’ve always appreciated your open communication with your fans, really speaks to the word “community” for me.

Quick Q – so this means no more Sonar? I thought their new release looked pretty beastly.


Bryant Eslava says:

April 5, 2011 at 12:31 pm

This is amazing Scott, I’m very excited for the new album.
Although I wish It’d come out during the summer, so I could listen to the sweet tunes and remember 2011’s summer very beautifully.

Thank’s for the big update! cheers.


Scott says:

April 5, 2011 at 12:32 pm

yeah, Sonar is out. X1 was the nail in the coffin for me. I had always struggled with that program, so many bugs and broken features. But it was all I knew. I tried Reaper and after about 30 mins I never looked back. The workflow is light years beyond anything out there (for the way I work at least) and it’s rock solid stable. A big plus is the cross-platform compatibility as I use both PC (in the studio) and Mac (on the road).

But yeah, can’t recommend Reaper enough. It’s like using MS Paint your whole design career and then one day you discover Photoshop.


R M Pinti says:

April 5, 2011 at 12:34 pm

haven’t been this excited about music since…Coastal Brake… ; )


Adi says:

April 5, 2011 at 1:13 pm

It’s great dude. I can’t wait for the album to drop do you have a date when its coming.


bitbin says:

April 5, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Thanks for the reply Scott. I am glad you found something which works for you. There are som many tools available to us today, the ‘standard setup’ has gone in terms of live performance. Glad you are also venturing out with the band too.

Hope it goes well, come to the UK please. I can help with getting some gigs in my area.


Mark says:

April 5, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Hi Scott,
Happy to hear your new album is coming together … hope the tech stuff doesn’t get in the way ;-) I know how it can distract …
Love the footage, thanks for posting. Come to Holland!


Jordan says:

April 5, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Adding to the ‘come to europe’ comments ;)

Also, how strange to watch a macbook pro on a macbook pro.

Looking forward to the new album! :)


Rudolph says:

April 5, 2011 at 6:02 pm

I can almost smell and taste the effervescence of your tracks. I love your work and cannot wait for the album release! Come to Detroit!


Ben says:

April 6, 2011 at 1:32 pm

I Agree with Stevan. Come to Austin!
Fan of your work and aesthetic. I look every day.


mg33 says:

April 6, 2011 at 10:13 pm

Scott – inspiring and impressive as always. I saw your show in Chicago last year at the Empty Bottle and the visuals at that point were fantastic, but the ones above look ever more creative. I can’t imagine seeing your music with a live band and hearing the different tone it takes on that way in a venue.


Martin says:

April 6, 2011 at 11:26 pm

Scott, your music is music for design made by a designer. Perfectly tailored for creative work. It concentrates and relaxes me like no other music can. This new track merges whats uniquely Tycho with my other love, Deep house music… an absolutely perfect combination :). Good luck finishing the album, man. A Herculean effort in my mind. Props.


istvan says:

April 7, 2011 at 7:32 am

Wouv! I love this. It makes me wanna start doing such things and I think I will try out some experimental video editing in AE soon.

Have a nice day!


Jarson says:

April 7, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Sounds(and looks) so incredibly great. A little bummed that we’re not getting a summer release anymore…


Daemon says:

April 7, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Awesome! I can’t wait for the new album, I’m sure it’ll be well worth the wait. I’m glad you take your time & make sure everything’s the way you want it to be instead of just spitting out songs that still have loads of potential.


Mark Hayter says:

April 8, 2011 at 12:36 am

Having just seen you and your band Thursday April 7 Th 2011 and being 58 years . I have seen them all
Hendrix , Pink Floyd , Rolling Stones , and a musician that never got his due . Christopher Cross . Every thing I have heard in nearly 6 decades of listening … suddenly has become a prelude to your music.


Julianne says:

April 8, 2011 at 11:56 am

Last night blew me away in more ways than one. Fucking incredible. Thank you :)

can’t wait for the new album!


Scott Heller says:

April 8, 2011 at 3:59 pm

First of all I’d like to say that the music and visuals are phenomenal. I just wanted to ask where you get your raw footage from? I love to play around with video and compositing, using a lot of film footage for reference because I’m going to school for animation. I love the range of depth and color from actual film. I was just wondering where to find good vintage footage. Thanks!


Nick says:

May 30, 2011 at 12:49 am

Amazing. the moment i heard your song on adult swim (lets see, about three or four years ago, maybe 2) i looked you up and to this day i haven’t heard any better music. love your sound. i was wondering, do you use reaper completely as a DAW? Do you record all of your instruments into it? because i use FL studio and i am fairly satisfied, but Reaper looks great and i love the updates. was thinkin about purchasing it when V4 comes out.

anyway, id love to see you here in Denver, it has a great music scene and you would do great here. Maybe Red Rocks? haha. that would be great for your visuals and its a great venue.


sean says:

July 28, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Looks and sounds awesome as always! What are your thoughts on dynamic compression in the mastering of your CDs? For instance, Coastal Brake has a pretty leveled out compression on the track. Is this part of the sound shaping you do in mastering, or is it an attempt to compete with current loudness of cds? Just curious. No matter… everything you release sounds amazing. Past Is Prologue has a permanent place as one of the best albums of all time. Can’t wait for the new album! :-)