OAKLAND — With a colorful collage of ambient video backdrops and instrumentation, NorCal visual artist and ambient electronic music composer Scott Hansen kicked off the world tour supporting Grammy-nominated album Epoch at the Fox Theater. The album is the fifth for Hansen, who goes by Tycho.
He set the sold out crowd in an electronic glaze with their dreamy soundscapes, layered keyboards and pulsing percussion beats. Hansen, who designs all of his own in-concert imagery, knows how to beautifully blend visuals into his tracks creating a rhythmic and optically impactful set. Saturday, the simple production included a curved projection screen that cut the size of the stage into a more manageable, intimate room.
Performing hits such as “Epoch,” “A Walk,” “Coastal Brake,” “Glider,” “Daydream,” and fan favorite “Awake,” Tycho left the Fox Theater in a melodic dream state. Epoch debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s top dance/electronic albums chart. But unlike the the other nominees in his Grammy category, he doesn’t make EDM. Hansen’s music is an emotional and spiritual investment. His songs feature no lyrics whatsoever. Instead, the visuals communicate his emotions and thoughts.
The show was opened by Nitemoves, the project of producer Rory O’Connor. O’Connor is a drummer by trade, and that showed, because he used every count, every beat possible and filled it with precision. His songs were both fast and slow at the same time because nearly ever step had a dominant or submissive beat. His electronica was, in other words, considerably less ambient than Tycho, with a mixture of ’80s jams, old school hip-hop and more straight-forward dance music. To power his stage name to the crowd, Nitemoves’ visuals were pulsating green waves and created the impression of watching topographical maps in night vision.