"Dive," released 2011 by US label Ghostly International, is the latest album by Scott Hansen's project Tycho. Tycho's music is categorized on Discogs as "downtempo/IDM/deep house," and I think that's a pretty good assessment, although the tracks on "Dive" are more "upbeat downtempo" (if that makes any sense). This album first caught my attention in a record store with its beautiful digital art painting of the sun going down over an ocean, which reminded me of Tangerine Dream's great sleeve art for "Hyperborea." Rarely do I buy something based on the covert art without knowing anything about the artist--in this case I did just that, and boy am I glad I did!
"Dive", one of the highlights of last year, is chock full of earthy, expansive, deep ambient, driving, propulsively melodic tracks that are epic and uplifting, while being moody as well. I think if Steve Roach ever decided to start making beat-driven IDM, it might sound something like this. Comparisons have been made with Boards of Canada (can't comment because I'm not that familiar with BOC) and Ulrich Schnauss (who I have heard, and yeah, it's a good comparison). Hansen expertly blends guitars and basses along with the electronics and great drum programming, giving the album an "instrumental rock" feel at times. The warm electronics feel very thick and analog--this is about as far away from "cold clinical" EM as you can get.
"Dive" is a mini-masterpiece of expertly crafted, emotionally-resonant EM that will appeal to fans of beat-oriented dance music as well as ambient space music enthusiasts. Highly recommended!!!