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Tycho - Epoch album review

San Fran composer’s instrumental trilogy reaches its electronic apex

Epoch’s journey began in 2011, when Tycho’s lead protagonist, Scott Hansen, embarked on the trilogy of albums that would make his name. Six years and three records later, his work has earned him significant plaudits – not least this, the trilogy’s final instalment, which has won him a place alongside Jean-Michel Jarre as a nominee in the dance/electronic category at the 2017 Grammys.

The visual element of Hansen’s “multi-dimensional artistic vision” is as important as the sonic experience so Epoch’s sparse red and black cover art signposts darker alleyways than the sunlit Dive (2011) and rainbow-adorned Awake (2014). It’s a subtle switch; previous poppy preoccupations tipped slightly in favour of moody drums and brooding synths. Still, there’s plenty of twinkling light; pulsating rhythms and syncopated guitar prevent the album from sliding too far into the gloom. Tribal drums usher in the cosmic strains of opener Glider, while Receiver’s synthesised pan flutes conjure up a retro reimagining of the Amazon rainforest. The compositions are tighter, with attention paid to conventional song structure – perfect for Hansen’s newest stage, a four-piece live band. This might mark the closing chapter of the trilogy, but another story’s just beginning.