I realize I just posted a fairly large bit on NorCal’s proggy instrumental chillwave act Tycho late last month. It was their Greek Theatre show from early September. But I recently stumbled upon their single “See,” which is a one-off collaboration with New York electronic duo Beacon, and I just couldn’t resist.
First off, I didn’t know this single existed. It came out in 2017, sometime between their last two albums, “Epoch” from ’16, and their recently released “Weather.” And somehow, I missed it.
This strikes me as interesting, and worthy of discussion, because “Weather” is the first LP to feature a vocalist, Saint Sinner, which I (wrongly) assumed was the first time Tycho recorded with one.
I recall being somewhat surprised at their Greek show, when Saint Sinner took the stage. At that point, I hadn’t heard their latest material, since it wasn’t released yet. So I was a bit unprepared. I’m still of two minds about it, since I think the instrumental format is Tycho’s strength. But the addition of lyrics and voice isn’t a deal breaker either. When it works, it really works. When it doesn’t, it just lacks the organic quality that makes their music so hypnotically laid-back.
I bring all this up, because “See” also features vocals, as well as additional electronics, from Beacon, but precedes the Saint Sinner collaborations by a couple of years. And quite honestly, I like what’s happening here with the Brooklyn duo more than what’s featured on the newer material. That organic thing I mentioned … this one’s got it in spades.
Tycho’s dreamy melodic meanderings seem fully synced with Beacon’s more beat-oriented stylings. And vocally, the lyrics flow rather effortlessly, similar to Saint Sinner’s silky smoothness, yet with a little less force and a bit more grace. I feel like there’s more collaboration and less compromise, if that makes any sense. Whatever the case, I just think it works better, more fluid, balanced, and a natural extension and evolution.
Anyway, here it is … Tycho’s “See,” featuring Beacon.
Tycho’s 2017 single “See,” featuring Beacon.
And here’s the music video …
I’m guessing Beacon’s not a familiar name for most, unless you’re way deep into the indie electronic scene …. or more likely, it magically appeared in your Spotify weekly playlist at some point. That’s actually how I came upon them. This nifty little downtempo electro tune titled “Be My Organ” infiltrated one of my listening excursions sometime last year. It’s a bit dreamy, retro, slightly grimey, and all groovy.
I bookmarked it, listened to it a bunch, and then promptly forgot about it, as tends to happen. That is, until another unrelated Beacon track, “Drive,” popped up during a recent daily shuffle. This one’s another rhythmic shuffle, atmospheric, ambient, ear-catching and equally groovy in its sly, slow progressive trip, hop, and slide.
Check them both out.
“Be My Organ” from the 2018 album “Gravity Pairs.”
… with visual accompaniment.
“Drive” from the 2013 album “The Ways We Separate.”