Awake - GHOSTLY INTERNATIONAL
FILTER Grade: 85%
By Kenny S. McGuane on March 19, 2014
San Francisco–based graphic designer and electronic music wizard Scott Hansen has been wowing IDM nerds for a decade. His acclaimed 2011 Ghostly International debut Dive solidified him as one of a handful of ambient music superstars, in as much as there even is such a thing. Awake, Tycho’s competent follow-up, features real, live musicians: Zac Brown (bass, guitar) and Rory O’Connor (drums) are both awake and alive on these eight tracks and the result is a sound that’s distinctly more human. Silky, swirly synths still abound on Awake, but the groove of live bass, guitar and drums advance Tycho’s sound and put the songs right into the proverbial pocket. Shit, it actually sounds like these dudes are having fun. Not that this is a party album or anything; Awake is still late-night (or early-morning) headphone music, for sure. But this is a promising new approach and one that Tycho sounds genuinely thrilled to be exploring.