I find it exceedingly difficult to get into new ambient songs. As much as I’ll always have my sentimental favourite rap tracks, best-of-all-time pop tunes and hard-to-argue-with rock classics, the space carved out in my musical consciousness for purely instrumental ‘relax tracks’ is one protected by the fiercest, angriest looking mental bouncer you’ve ever seen. More than my favourite electro songs or folk joints, the approved chill out track maintains a special significance in my music library as it is these tracks to which I almost exclusively turn in times of severe pressure or at those increasingly infrequent moments when I am in the sort of mood that might reflect their languid pace and ponderous outlook. Entering the mode of being for which chill out tracks might provide the soundtrack presents an unusual opportunity to really listen to music in a way that not many other elements of life do. In the hustle and/or bustle of daily existence, the minutiae so often get lost in the white noise.
The unparalleled level of sonic commitment that a chill out session requires makes for bass lines, triangle flourishes, looped synth riffs becoming indelibly imprinted on your mind. Such is the investment in these songs – as every key change and minor tweak on a theme is registered profoundly, subconsciously – that they don’t really lend themselves to quick replacement. Where the turnover for an average track might be a couple of weeks, a really superb ambient track will, by virtue of its foundational associations with a whole range of happy endorphins, stay with you for far longer. In this schema of listening, Tycho’s ‘Hours’ comes to me from a strange place. When a friend texted me that she was at Tycho in the States over the weekend, I imagined that in neglecting to identify who or what a ‘Tycho’ was, I was already supposed to know the answers. With ‘Hours’, the first track I stumbled across on googling the musical pseudonym for San Franciso-based Scott Hansen (ISO50 to the design world), I got a parallel, strange sense, almost like I knew the lush sonic landscape of the track before I’d ever heard it.
Almost twenty plays and two days later, ‘Hours’ has recommended itself as a worthy addition to what I appear to have talked up as a hugely esteemed canon of music that I essentially like to close my eyes to. Ostensibly of the Balearic beat tradition (so say those far more educated than I regarding the Ibizan take on deep house), ‘Hours’ boasts the kind of sun-drenched vibe that many songs aspire to. It’s easy enough to claim your track sounds like sand between the toes and cold beer between the fingers as the sun sets on a salty, radiant day but not too many deliver in the way ‘Hours’ does: the best aural approximation of what the beach sounds like since conch shells were cool. As a designer, ISO50 does some stunning, intricate and warm work. As a producer, Hansen’s latest release, 2011′s ‘Dive’, channels that artistic fascination with making inescapably alluring things but further blurs the geometric exactitude of his graphic work to offer up music that, while meticulously refined, is hermetically sealed in its torpor. ‘Hours’ is cascading ocean, clouds, hazy orange beautiful. Step aside, bouncer.
Tycho – Hours