I find it absolutely breathtaking when artists have the ability to properly portray the context of their music through album covers, titles, and even color palettes. While not a hugely decisive characteristic in how good the album sounds per se, it can cause an album to cross the nebulous line in my brain that exists between the “pretty good” and the “amazing”. Take San Francisco’s psychedelically ambient Tycho, for example.
Alone, their album Dive stands resolutely on its own with ten elegantly arranged, absolutely mind-altering tracks. The album fires off with the virtually coma-inducing (and I mean that in a good way) “A Walk” which moves at its own deliberate pace and establishes a tough standard for the remaining tracks to follow. Luckily, the rest of the album carries the same meaningful gait, leading the listener step by step along the way.
“Dive“, the title track of the album, features the only appearance of vocals and the longest length, but stands as one of the most hypnotic tracks on the album. Strangely enough, I get an overwhelming 80′s vibe from the song, as the drums have that trademark almost-real-but-sort-of-electronic feel to them, from a time when computers were just starting to be implemented in music making.
“Coastal Brake” carries an upbeat, flowing rhythm, undulating under the constant waves of delayed guitar melodies and steady barrage of low-frequency kicks. The whole album has a certain fuzz about it, an underlying interference that, while not intrusive, adds a layer of color not easily described. The best way to see it for yourself would be to compare the music to the album cover, and every other bit of artwork on their website.
Speaking of the album art, it is indeed what pushed me over the edge. The album sounds exactly the way it looks. For me, that is an art in and of itself – matching the cover art to the audible art: the colors, the flowing rhythms, the slight distortion of underwater sounds… it’s all there.
Tycho’s beautifully engineered soundscapes make it hard to pull away from the hypnotic trance of Dive. The album is a rhythmically driven masterpiece with its own agenda – to envelope the listener in its aura. Though I realize I’m a bit late to this party (as it was released in late 2011), I’m glad I arrived nonetheless.
Take a listen to my home-brewed instrumental/electronic/indie album
"Where Were We When" and download it for as many coconuts as you can spare.
Coconuts are delicious, though their milk tastes like pond water.