Tycho: Past is Prologue

Artists understandably wince when a comparison to another is constantly invoked, yet it's impossible to discuss Past is Prologue without mentioning Boards of Canada; in truth, Tycho's sound apes the group's signature style so baldly, one starts thinking Tycho might be the Warp duo in disguise rather than an alias for Scott Hansen. Gauzy atmospheres and woozy synthesizer melodies establish the connection immediately in “From Home,” with languorous hip-hop beats deepening the dreamy ambiance, while speaking voices and seaside noises in “Sunrise Projector” complete the simulacral picture. Similarities aside, Past is Prologue—for the record, a remastered reissue of Tycho's 2004 full-length debut Sunrise Projector fleshed out with two new tracks and three remixes—impresses most when Tycho charts his own course, when “Dictaphone's Lament” introduces a smattering of boom-bap, for example, or when the dynamic title track gravitates towards a jazzy strain of drum & bass. The collection ends on a high note with some solid remixes by Dusty Brown, who sweetens his harder-edged “A Circular Reeducation” treatment with angelic voices, and Nautilis (aka Malcom Kipe), who adds a funky vocodered squelch to the hip-hop aroma of “Sunrise Projector.”

January 2007