Tycho - Awake | Track Review | By Volume

I'm afraid of heaven because I can't stand the height. I'm afraid of you because I can't be left behind. St. Vincent - Regret



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Author: on January 29, 2014

It always feels strange trying to assess material by an artist that you have a personal connection to outside of their music. I don’t mean to insinuate that Tycho and I are friends, or even really know each other in anyway – that too is a headache all its own. More so that his music has affected me greatly at many points and I feel like nothing but a rah-rah cheerleader in his court every time I mention his material. Is this any different with current preemptive-single “Awake”? No, most certainly not. I love this song pretty much through-and-through and well, excuse me while I gush.

From the moment those guitars fade in, “Awake’s” luscious bassline propels the riff skyward into the layers of synthesizer hovering above. Then the low end really kicks in and once again it feels like I’m en route to the coast on a sunny day. But not too warm though, with just enough wind to keep your hair whipping and your skin cool. Though that was always my favorite part of Tycho’s music, it’s mind-molding abilities. As I type this it’s cold-as-fuck outside and freshly powered, though you’ll be hard pressed to convince me otherwise while “Awake” blares down my hallways.

Tycho’s music has always had this sun-shiny quality to it, even at its dreariest there’s something innately uplifting about his compositions. I couldn’t say whether this has anything to do with his personal record collection, geographical preference or time spent mining the sounds of IDM and trance producers or, hell, the Beach Boys. But this isn’t all homage to the past (though BoC may have something to say about Tycho’s woozy synths), more so, it’s like finding an ancient, dust-covered easel and a collection of sloppy oils next to it. Tycho is, and has seemingly always, been creating new textures with weathered tools. He could by all means be using the finest technology available but it doesn’t really matter as Tycho’s music, to these ears, has always been about harnessing nostalgia and existence within the vacuum of summer vacation. All its sunny days, beachy excursions, as well as the rainy afternoons and calm nights. “Awake” is no different in this respect, but it’s certainly a more organic take – live instrumentation does wonders for the track but most importantly it isn’t distant. This feels first hand, almost point-of-view when his music has constantly been so tertiary. This was never really a bad thing but I don’t know how easy it’ll be to go back now that we’ve had a taste of the good stuff.


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