Odds are, you don’t know Tycho, which is fine. But perhaps you know Scott Hansen, the San Francisco-based sound/visual artist behind the crypticism. He resides happily below the radar, where his sonic permutations can grow and change however his muse dictates. But that may soon change with his latest album, the dystopian instrumental wonder Dive — released just last month to deserving buzz — and a string of supporting dates, including a Saturday night gig at the Independent.
The Mission-based Hansen, who originally came to SF from his native Sacramento in the mid-’90s, has been recording under the name Tycho since 2004. He’s had success as a graphic artist as well, working under the name ISO50, and one medium does seem to inform the other. Dive begs for synesthetic responses, where the visual and the aural imagination meet.
There’s a sense of therapeutic release in these meandering reflections, with subtexts ranging from tragic to romantic, and untold moods and ideas flutter about in between. A minimal/grandeur dichotomy permeates as well, with simple strokes contributing to the abstract whole.
Playing the sounds-like game, loosely, you can draw comparisons to Boards of Canada, Four Tet, Baths (who, incidentally, play Slim’s next Thursday) and acclaimed sound engineer Bibio, whose airy soundscapes seem to defy the time-space continuum, much in the same way Tycho manages to balance futuristic synthetic tones and modes with timeless acoustic guitar pluckings.
His live shows often come equipped with (hopefully) equally trippy background visuals, so, um, be prepared for that.