Tycho’s dream-pop project feels like a first kiss in many ways. The concept is intriguing, the immediate reaction is excitement but you quickly realise there is work to be done. Weather is the fifth studio release from Scott Hansen, better known as Tycho. While it largely moves within the same downtempo light electronic sphere of his 2016 Grammy-nominated album Epoch, Hansen is moving further from soundscapes and into pop music. This move can largely be attributed to one major decision: the introduction of a prominent vocal for the first time in Tycho’s extensive discography.
Hannah Cottrell, also known as Saint Sinner, is featured on five of the eight tracks. Her delicate voice fills the empty spaces on the more minimalist electronic production, guiding the music into a dream-pop state. The eight tracks are thus easily separated into two groups; the five with Cottrell featuring and the three without. The three voiceless tracks struggle to stand on their own. As pleasant and graceful as they sound, they fail to invoke emotion or invite movement. It seems the three tracks were made as interludes for the Cottrell features rather than songs on their own, which is unfortunate when what Tycho was known for is his instrumentals.
While Tycho seems to have missed the beat on his instrumentals, his first dabble with prominent vocals is moderately successful. Cottrell’s soft vocals with an underlying driving beat create a soundtrack to a thoughtful, if not mildly melancholic, late light drive. Unfortunately, while the tracks create a nice cohesive mood, most fail to impress individually. However, there is one gem in the bunch where Tycho strikes the balance between his electronic past and his pop future.
Pink & Blue is one of the singles of the release. Cottrell’s light voice creates a balance against the heavier synth production. The track is a dance-inviting pop song ready for a late night on the open-air electronic stage of your favourite festival. Tycho’s move to add vocals might have been a successful move into a more commercial sector of the music industry, but musically it was a turn to Snoozeville. The project failed to evoke greater excitement. However, if the single is any indication of potential – practice makes perfect. Much like with kissing.
Weather is out now, via Ninja Tune Records.