Tycho - Epoch

by Chelsea Lee

If you have in the past enjoyed one of Tycho’s albums as I did with Dive, I am sad to say that his new album Epoch has been, in my opinion, a rather disappointing one. In two words, the album is: safe and experimental. Seeing as the genre of Tycho’s work is electronic chillwave/ambient music, the choice of mellow tones within each track is understandable. However, I found it just a tad too comfortable as the album is seemingly compiled with tracks that are incredibly similar to each other. To compensate for the lack of variety, Tycho attempts to spice up the tracks with mild psychedelic effects but never seems to let it set and simmer to its fullest potential before returning to the ‘lift music’ phase.

Whilst my general consensus has been negative, the album is not without its own merits. The album does what its meant to do, to create a relaxing atmosphere through simple melodies with a depth of texture and steady beats. It being an easy listen makes it to an extent, suitable for fans of all types of music.

My initial reaction to the first track of the album Glider was a pleasant one as I found the beginning progression from the chimey tinkling of the synthesizer to a bold drum sequence invigorating, like it is ready to take you on a journey. The bass comes in giving it a fuller sound as well as some additional dream-like embellishments that fattens up the texture in a satisfying way. It is the shift at around a minute and a half into the track that lets it down. The synth plays a simple melody alone at the shifting point which is repeated in the following sections of the track with more instruments involved. The problem was the visual I had in my mind whilst listening to the track went from a dreamy wonderland to a promotional video for a mediocre hotel of some sort. That was what it sounded like. Several tracks within this album seemed to unfortunately have the same effect.

I found that with most tracks within this album, they started off strong but as they progressed, they all sounded very familiar with similar effects and that kind of simple, minimalistic and repetitive, ‘too nice’ to hear type of sound.

Two of the tracks that I appreciated better were Field and Horizon. Field begins with some soothing guitar strumming and later bringing in a repeating sequence as the melody. However, the sequence blurred into the guitar riffs in the background so there is less focus placed on the looping of the few notes. The other track Horizon sounds quite similar to Glider in terms of style, but the reason why this is one of my picks is because it fits well with the image of the sun rising up upon the horizon as the album cover seems to illustrate.

My struggle with Epoch as an album is that it has not evoked a strong emotion of any sort. Nothing has stood out to me particularly and made me think ‘wow, this is worth a listen’. Listening to this album has been a numbing experience. But I suppose if you are looking for background music for a video or want to fill the white noise in a room, this is the album for you.