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Tycho (live at Electric Brixton)

27 February 2017

The Electric Brixton was formerly called The Ace and then The Fridge — the venue always had its problems (even though it was smaller), but since its refurbishment as the Electric these problems somehow seem to be accentuated. Don’t get me wrong, the sound at the venue is fantastic and the stage is certainly better now it’s larger; it just seems that the events I have been to since its reopening always seem to be over-packed, so its very difficult to move from one area to another — which makes seeing bands there at times a rather less than enjoyable experience.

Tonight I arrive nice and early hopefully to grab a spot near the stage to witness Tycho in all their glory. As the venue sells cans of beer at £5 each, I thought I could probably leave the joys of alcohol behind and maybe even hold my bladder for the entire evening as its always a pain trying to get to the sole male toilets the venue has. As I walk in, the venue is already packed and my heart sinks as yet more people are arriving all the time.
Tycho live February 2017 (NB: photo enhanced for full psychedelic effect)

The support is a DJ playing ambient and trance pieces that would be engaging if the crowd around me were not so loud. He has a very basic light system and the music comes across as being slightly like System 7 meets 1200 Micrograms. Because people are already packed so tightly on to the dance floor area, nobody can really move to the beats provided, which is a shame as some of what was being produced was interesting.

About half way through the set I manage to find a good viewing point from which to witness the acts. When the DJ finishes his short set, a very stupid idea enters my head that maybe I should try and head towards the front and make my way on to the dance floor. After about six feet in I hit a mass of unmoving people, some trying to get off the dance floor and failing and others, like me, trying to get on to it unsuccessfully. As I look towards the stage, I can barely see anything apart from the back of people’s heads. I give in to defeat and head back to my previous spot, which has now of course been taken. As a result I have to stand by the stairs — also full of people — and try my best to get a glimpse of the band.

Tycho’s music isn’t really designed to peak and fall, but to create a wonderful and majestic atmosphere. It’s there to take us on a journey to the myriad of spiritual locations that our planet has to offer; be these in the desert or jungles or high up in the mountains. In a strange way, their music works best as a soundtrack of sorts. To me it’s the musical memories of places I have been and places that I would like to see.

Tycho live February 2017( NB: photo enhanced for full psychedelic effect)

The background visual to Tycho’s entrance is a photo of the peaks of the Himalayas, giving a sense of spirituality about their performance. In fact most of the visuals used tonight are of beautiful natural places or images from ancient cultures. Scott Hansen and his four-man band settle behind their instruments and start proceedings with a sublime rendition of “Glider” filled with wonderful ambient synths and spiralling desert guitars. The sound sweps you away to another place where the sun creeps high in the sky and throws deep shadows in ancient temples. “Division” has a stronger rhythmic element and it’s here that I begin to equate the guitar sound to Brian Eno’s treatments on Daniel Lanois and U2’s mid-eighties albums. The guitar is full of echo and reverb and rings around the venue like it’s trying to escape into the night-time sky.

The very popular “A Walk” is up next and its here that the audience begin to try a bounce along — the sound of the track is so captivating that I even manage to block out the conversation the guy with the beard standing next to me is having about his mortgage. “Awake” has a sensual beauty to it as the keyboards sounds rise and fall and “Horizon” reminds me of warm evenings spent in India walking through the waves on the beach. The encore songs of “Receiver” and “Montana” send the packed crowd out into the cold night air, maybe dreaming of warmer climes and different places. For me, hopefully next time that I see the band I can get a better view of it all.

-Words and psychedelically-enhanced pictures: Gary Parsons-

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