Music elicits moods. A power-metal battle hymn will make you feel strong and impervious, the string section of Vivaldi’s ‘Winter’ will make you feel anxious, and Tycho’s synth-filled soundscape will make you feel relaxed in its vastness. Since I work in an open office floorplan, the incessant chatter can often become distracting and a handy pair of earbuds has become invaluable. However, much more so than in college (when music made an excellent study aid), various styles of music have proven themselves to be even more distracting than the people around me. Anymore, when I need to withdraw from the hubbub of office chatter, I turn to a variety of genres including power metal, hard rock, and most recently—electronic.
Because electronic is a very expansive genre, and one I know little about, most of my listening knowledge has come from artists I have stumbled across or learned about from others better versed in this style of music than myself. With roots going all the way back to the 1960’s with bands like Kraftwerk from Germany, the genre has a vast, but pretty short, history. The style of music has been typified by the use of synthesizers to produce tones and notes, but today it encapsulates a much broader swath of music—all of which is produced using some variation of live and computer generated instruments and sounds.
One group that falls within the ‘electronic’ genre, called Tycho, produces music using a mixture of both synthesized instruments (hardware synths) and regular instruments (e.g. electronic guitars, drums, etc.). The group is primarily known for using lots of ambient melodies and is incredibly relaxing to listen too. The band’s lead, Scott Hansen, also designs all the merchandise and album covers himself in an effort to present a visual image that is consistent with the sonic nature of his work—efficient, clean, and pleasing. Tycho makes for excellent working music due to their relaxing and clean sounds, but also contains the depth that makes attentive listening rewarding.
The genre of electronic music contains a huge variety of artists, sounds, and sub-genres, and people will be drawn to it for a variety of reasons. Mine is probably not as idealistic as most—just wanting something to block out the cacophony of the office-space; however, by pursuing it I have discovered bands like Tycho, that present a beautiful artistry in their melding of old with new, acoustic with digital, and audio with visual.