When an artist releases a big album, there can be a tendency to cash in. How many double CD/expanded repacks have been issued less than six months after an album came out? Probably too many. Sometimes, however, these feel necessary. Maybe not a deluxe edition, but a reimagined one. This is what Tycho has done.
In 2019 he released ‘Weather’, his strongest album to date and getting himself another Grammy nod on the process. What marked it apart from his previous releases was Saint Sinner’s vocals, which lifted the productions from ambient tinged electronica to glorious gossamer pop. Now Tycho has released ‘Simulcast’, an album that strips away Sinner’s vocals and pushes those diaphanous productions to the fore.
‘Easy’, ‘Into the Woods’, and ‘Weather’ all sound relatively the same as they did on ‘Weather’, albeit slightly bigger and brighter, with small tweaks and additions like the wispy vocals that have found their way onto ‘Easy’. Where the album really comes into its own is on ‘Alright’, ‘Outer Sunset’, ‘PCH’, ‘Cypress’ and ‘Stress’. Here those ornate backing tracks shine. The intricate interplay of synths, guitars and beats is a joy to behold – ‘PCH’ is the standout moment on the album.
‘Simulcast’ isn’t just the instrumentals from ‘Weather’. The songs with Saint Sinner’s vocals have been reconfigured so that the glorious instrumentation has been enriched. Here those killer melodies get a chance to really shine. What the project demonstrates it that Tycho has a great ear and understands deeply how pop music isn’t just about the lyrics – it’s about delivering an emotive punch through straightforward melodies ravelled around one another.
A strange quirk of the album, however, is that the new beefed-up versions sometimes reach a moment of crashing, stopping in their tracks, such as ‘Alright’, when the synth chimes and cascading guitar riffs suddenly drop away. These moments can be slightly annoying, disconcerting, but on the other hand they show Tycho’s deft touch and appreciation for Brain Eno's ambient releases.
Naming the album ‘Simulcast’, Tycho has effectively presented the ideas over two projects. One is an incredible literal listen, whereas the second is far more interpretive. With ‘Weather’ it’s Saint Sinner’s vocals that give the project direction; when these are stripped away on ‘Simulcast’, it’s up to the listener to find a way though, to draw the conclusions. And it’s these personal conclusions that make ‘Simulcast’ arguably a far more engaging and interesting experience than ‘Weather’.
Words: Nick Roseblade
Join us on the ad-free creative social network Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks, exclusive content and access to Clash Live events and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.