MPMF Is Awake With Tycho

Take a walk through the woods with the sun barely peeking through the trees, or along a sandy beach with the waves gently lapping at the shore. Wherever it is that you go when traveling to your happy place, make sure you take Tycho with you: his ambient jams are a versatile soundtrack for life. This kind of electronic music is less about putting on your best black v-neck and hitting the sweaty mess of a dance floor, and more about grabbing a beer and finding a hammock to swing in wearing a smile in the breeze. Scott Hansen is no DJ -- this is electronic composition at its finest. 

What truly sets his style apart is the way his music is constructed: it’s very melody-forward, rather than leading by a deep throbbing bass. Instead, the drums play a soft background groove in beautiful harmony with the keystrokes of his mini Moog, creating a sexy invitation for both the skirt swingers and lovers of the two-step to come do their dance thing. Tycho is more than a damn fine composition artist, though; he’s an incredibly thoughtful performance visionary. His works are inspired by the vast openness of natural space in Wyoming, Utah and Colorado, and it shows; every track gives the feeling that we’re being led to a place of beauty, for a celebration of only the beauty itself. There’s nowhere better than anywhere else inside a Tycho song, but each one is a different world its own.

In one of the best Ask Me Anything threads i’ve ever seen on Reddit, Hansen explained the intent of his productions to user iLobdell:

The songs don't have a specific story. I'm just trying to create an emotional space and the listener is invited to project onto that. I don't think in terms of lyrics or language when I write music, just in terms of vague emotions and ideals. I basically want to create a head rush, what the listener does with that is up to them.

Create a head rush he does, with deft mastery of depth and echo to create a “space” to hang out in your own moment. In many ways, his music is a nod to classical composition, balancing power with ambiance in a similar fashion to Boards of Canada. He explained the beauty of instrumental music to another Reddit user, The_Neon_Knight, in the same thread:

Every time I create a song my primary goal is to evoke an emotion from myself. I have to feel something, there has to be that moment where your hair stands on end or some feeling washes over you. I want to create a space that exists outside the physical world that can be used as a kind of framework for projecting your own personal emotions onto. I think that's the beauty of instrumental music; it only implies, it doesn't define.

If you haven’t selected a Tycho album to start with yet (you can’t go wrong with any of them, really), then I recommend Dive, his third release. It’s has smooth and mellow progressions, almost like what a laid back Sunday drive down Rainbow Road might feel like if it were possible. Moving through the Tycho chronology, if Dive brought us into the stratosphere on a chillwave cloud, then Awake, his most recent album, is like walking along the edges of a different cloud in the same dream. The sounds feel more determined, and more well-rounded, like having a grounding force to spending all that time in space with his musings.

If youre not busy on Friday the 26th, grab the nearest spaceship and fly through Tycho’s electrogalaxy on the MPMF Christian Moerlein stage at 9:30pm. You’ll leave feeling so warm and awesome inside that you won’t know whether it’s the tasty music or the delicious beer. Cheers.