Wednesday 17 October 2018

Five-star review: 'Last night's Tycho gig felt like the gathering of conspirators party to a closely-guarded secret'

Tycho, District 8, Dublin

Tycho. PIC: Lauren Crew
Tycho. PIC: Lauren Crew
Ed Power

Ed Power

The rise of electro melancholists Tycho has been steady but invisible. The California band’s sell-out show at District 8 felt like the gathering of conspirators party to a closely-guarded secret, with even obscure tracks cheered like chart-slaying hits.

The devotion Tycho inspire is easily explained. Fuelled by cloudy swells of ambient guitar and lolling beats, their repertoire is an algorithmically optimal blend of shimmering and mysterious. As with the best instrumental music it also has a curious ability to warp the borders of reality – so that a gusty weeknight in Dublin acquired a tinge of the otherworldly.

Still, it’s equally clear why the group were lumped with the (now mercifully forgotten) chill-wave scene. The gorgeous Awake and A Walk, the anthems eliciting the loudest shouts, are the equivalent of plunging into a flotation tank. You sink deeper and deeper as the bassline propels the composition towards a downbeat rhapsody.

Tycho is the brainchild of Scott Hansen, a San Fransisco graphic designer and photographer. Initially the project was a solo vehicle but with the addition of Zac Brown on bass, Billy Kim on keyboards and Rory O’Connor on drums it has blossomed into a fully-fledged unit, with the musicians visibly driving one another onwards (and swapping instruments with impressive gusto).

There was no repeat of the the one-man stage invasion that took place at their Forbidden Fruit concert last summer. Instead, the performance soared and dipped and then glided to a graceful end.  The next time they pass through expect the venue to be bigger and the ranks of true believers to have swelled considerably.

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