Although it was a Monday night at Electric Brixton, the venue hosting the first of Tycho’s two sold-out London dates, the atmosphere felt more like the start of a Friday club night. There’s a predominantly young fan base coming out to see Tycho, with a wave of excitement that normally would be reserved for the biggest artists – signalling that Tycho are coming into a league of their own with a trilogy of album releases.
Tycho hit the stage with songs from their new album ‘Epoch’ including the smoothly poppy ‘Glider’. It’s then the turn of some of their impressive back catalogue to impress with their much-loved gentle meditation ‘A Walk’ and the immersive ‘Awake’ – both receive a strong reception. Front-man Scott Hansen, the founder of Tycho, looks particularly confident and at home on stage in a white suit, coming across as a crafter and leader of the music and art happening in one of London’s more unique venues.
Although through most of their set electronic pieces take the lead, there’s a period where it’s rhythm and band heavy, with pieces like ‘Soothe’, song title aside, shaking off the cloak of calming electronic. In moments like this, the night feels more like an intimate invitation to a jamming session, with the band’s well-considered melodic and rhythmic patterns feeling like skilful improvisations.
Before long it’s back to the electronica, and by now the crowd are fully hyped up; there’s not an uninterested face to be seen in the venue, and enough dancing and head bopping to match a DJ club night. Even the songs with less definitive patterns and themes, showcase a crowd fully entranced – the band clearly have a strong following, seen by the disappointment when the set ends after an hour, leading into ecstatic appreciation when they return for a prolonged encore.
All of the bass lines are particularly accentuated on this live night, with melodies searing and wistful weaving through the rest of the sound. Just as the thought arises that their dynamic range is based more on the dropping out of instruments rather than any change to sound, it’s proved wrong when a song comes along, such as Epoch, where parts crescendo and diminuendo in and out of the piece. It’s a case of expecting the unexpected from this talented band.
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As the band glides through their set list, it’s clear that they don’t want or need much showmanship in their music. Instead, they quietly and effortlessly play their parts and hand over the lead through the different band members. To replace this, Tycho brings his background of ISO50, his art and design work which is now fully blended into Tycho’s recent albums and live performances. The backdrop of shifting colours and patterns entrances, especially in the encore where ‘Montana’ is backed by a synaesthesia of smoky colour, kaleidoscopes of sound spreading in and out. At the same time the backing visuals of intermixed colours are intercepted by simple shapes, like circles and triangles, embodying the colours. It’s as if the band are hinting that the rainbow of colours in their notes come from the simple-edged defined rules of prisms and spheres, the art of maths coming into play.
The visuals and music are a package and it’s a quite wonderful bombardment of the senses that all should experience.