After the release of his fourth studio album it seemed unclear as to where Tycho could take his music.
Indeed, Epoch was something of a critical darling and earned Tycho – AKA Scott Hansen – a nomination for Best Dance/Electronic Album in the 2017 Grammy awards. Listening to it now, Epoch feels very much like Tycho had reached his artistic and melodic fulcrum and this is precisely what makes his latest effort so intriguing.
Unlike any of his records to date, Weather is the first to feature lyrical accompaniment of any kind. Though intriguing, it is a decision which will no doubt prove contentious amongst fans and dramatically changes the formula utilised by Hansen up to this point, both positively and negatively.
Specifically, Tycho has made use of the vocal stylings of Hannah Cottrell, otherwise known as Saint Sinner and the results are mixed. Hansen has described Weather as a collaboration with Cottrell, but it sometimes feels that this isn’t the case.
The greatest problem with Weather is that it often doesn’t feel like an out-and-out Tycho record, but more one in which he’s riding shotgun to the breathy, ethereal vocals of Saint Sinner. With the exception of "Japan", Weather is most interesting when Tycho affords himself the space to explore the signature synthesisers and ambient melodies that fans have come to expect from his music.
The aforementioned "Japan" for example, is a gorgeous, swirling, kaleidoscope of pop-ambience and serves as substantial evidence for Hansen’s ability to successfully carry off any collaborative effort he puts his hand to. Meanwhile "Into the Woods" is classic Tycho, dazzling in its breakbeat rhythm matched to driving bass and bright, echoing synthesisers.
There are moments of true, shining brilliance on the album, it’s just a shame that Tycho often doesn’t give himself the breathing room to explore them. Stacking in at under half an hour, Weather is deceptively short and the weighting between his solo efforts and those working alongside Cottrell is a balancing act that Hansen hasn’t quite mastered.
During its most striking moments, Weather is yet another example of Scott Hansen’s musical craftsmanship and excitingly it clearly illustrates the validity of his collaborative efforts with other musical artists. However the weighting on Weather is at times off-kilter and inconsistent, if Hansen can rectify and master this in future projects, he will likely be making the best music of his career.