It was inevitable that Tycho would eventually team up with a vocalist. Everything about Scott Hansen’s ambient-rock alias has pointed straight at it: the easy-gliding grooves, which amble without obtruding; the analog synthesizers and tastefully deployed guitar buzz that equally evoke dusty record crates and gleaming espresso bars; the project’s steady climb from an underground meme to a broadly beloved festival regular. Instrumental music only goes so far, even when it has Tycho’s palpably human touch. Let Boards of Canada keep its cult. Hansen is reaching for the stars.
On Weather, his first album away from the Ghostly International label, Hansen finds his ideal voiceprint in Hannah Cottrell, whose heavily treated, airy coo fits into the rubbery basslines and bendy synth lines like marmalade into an English muffin. The music’s soft focus still pulls you in—the simple, fingerpicked guitar figure of “Skate,” the marimba-like counterpoint to the Charlie Brown special-ready melody of “Into the Woods,” and the tremulous glide of Weather’s title track all evoke a dawn over an endless horizon, which is what Tycho has always done best.