Album Of The Week is a new segment we will be doing here at WhatsItTech where we discuss an album that we love. This week, we’re gong to focus on the ambient, electronic album Awake from Tycho. Also, if we own the album on vinyl, we’ll be sure to mention the quality of the pressing and how we like the packaging/aesthetics.
Awake came out in 2014, and is the second album in the trilogy that Tycho has released. I was introduced to this album through the video game Hohokum. His song “L” really caught my ear because of the really spacey sound it has. It really threw me for a loop at first, and I decided to check out Awake.
Awake is an 8 song project that clocks in just over 36 minutes. Those 36 minutes are filled with clean, driving guitar riffs, laid back drums and relaxing bass. Tycho paints a really beautiful soundscape in the album’s self-titled song that grows on itself over time. Montana, the second track off of the album provides a beach vibe. I can see myself driving down to the beach around sunrise while playing this album.
The entire production of this album is very organic, despite the fact that both analog and electronic instruments share the same space. The bass and guitar are clearly analog, while the drums have a slightly electronic feel to them. The tighter feel of the drums and how 4 to the floor they are is contrasted by the guitar, which spaces itself out more. The snare, especially in “Spectre” has a very 80’s sound to it, akin to the Roland 707 Snare, but much more open. Layers are exquisitely added and removed throughout the songs, making it feel like a trance.
The artwork on the album is very minimalistic and interesting. Tycho discusses the artwork of the entire trilogy here, and points out the colors in particular. Half way through the album, the tone of the music changes, it gets darker. He wanted the artwork to reflect that, while still remaining minimal, and the vibrant sun is the result. This was new information to me, and something I didn’t initially pick up on. I caught the album getting darker on the last two tracks, but not earlier on. I later found it after a few more listens, but it’s a subtle concept for sure.
This was an album I was initially hesitant to get on vinyl because I find electronic music is never properly mixed and mastered for vinyl. I decided to give this one a shot based on how “L” sounded on the Hohokum soundtrack that I have on vinyl. The record I received from Amazon was Beige from Amazon which is apparently a limited edition release. I was very impressed by the production of vinyl record from the very beginning. My copy has no pops and a very little surface noise. Due to the length of this album, it comfortably fits onto a single record without being compressed. Overall, I love this album on vinyl and can recommend it for sure, no questions asked.