Daaayyuum! Bumpin’ yet sensual! Where the champagne and hookers at? Not trashy hookers, though – nice, friendly ones who bring their children to school every day. Launched on September 30th, 2016 by Californian Scott Hansen for his project Tycho, Epoch sticks to a pretty consistent electronic vibe with a few organic curveballs thrown in there. The typical heavy, robotically-programed basslines are going strong in just about every song on the album, and combined with warm, ambient sounds and piercing synthetics, one may very well expect to hear some of these tracks playing in a fancy club lounge (while accompanied by champagne and friendly hookers). The production quality is fat and crisp, the mixing is creative and on-point, and the choice of acoustic instrumentation combined with classic techno sounds truly makes for an ambient, IDM, chillwave record. Whether you’re looking to find cool, feel-good vibes in a lounge, or you’re seeking to fly off to a galaxy far, far away after doing massive bong hits in your parents’ basement, this album will take you there.
Judging by the calm, soothing intro of the album opener “Glider,” I thought the rest of the album was going to be comprised of eleven boring, ambient, “sounds of the forest”-type bullshit. That is, however, until the drums kicked in, soon to be followed by synthetic trumpet horns going off. I could truly imagine this song playing as some dorky, heroic, tights-wearing kid in a lame “let’s save the world together” children’s action movie fiercely glides through the air, about to attack the bald, middle-aged, perverted-looking villain.
Although the electro vibes are strong in this one, there are many funky rock elements that make for a very unique techno-rock recipe. For example, while “Horizon” includes the typical ambient sounds, distorted bass, reverse cymbals, and bass-heavy drums, there is a clean-tone guitar lead, which manifests itself throughout the album on such songs as “Local” and “Field,” that sounds as if Daft Punk and The Edge from U2 teamed up and fused together some of their signature sounds (if you care to give U2 another chance, listen to the intro of “Where the Streets Have No Name – you’ll know what I mean). Adding the clean, acoustic-sounding guitar into the mix really breaks away from the conventional electro tones, and offers a more blues-driven mood and approach.
I wasn’t entirely impressed by the title track “Epoch.” I don’t feel that it is unique or stand-out enough to be the title track, which essentially represents the entire album. Many of these songs sound very similar to each other. “Epoch” has the same vibes, and follows a structure very similar to the rest, starting off calm and chill then escalating into a jizzing climax comprising of louder synthesizers, heavier and more intense drums and bass, and more sporadic dings and dongs that fly in from one speaker and out the other. I do appreciate, however, how there are sounds which seem to emulate voices, breaking the strict instrumental aspect of the song.
On the contrary, “Source” is my most preferred song on the list. It has a dope creeping-bass intro, and stays relatively calm and consistent throughout the song, thus not blending in with the rest of the songs. There is only kick drum for a good portion of the first half, but then the shakers and sixteenth notes kick in, making for more of the all-around good vibes which this album most definitely provides.
Written by Keenan Kerr
*edited by Kate Erickson