posted by dpm on 03/08/2011
Tycho Past Is Prologue
Is it possible for an ambient album to have both eerie, otherworldly qualities, yet retain a familiar, front porch charm? With 2006’s remastered edition of Tycho’s Past Is Prologue, we’re given aural salvation packaged tightly in brilliant cellophane. As one online reviewer so aptly put it, “Think Boards of Canada meets The Postal Service, minus the singing.” With that comment, I simply had to check out this disc’s sauce. As of late, I’ve become somewhat of a down-tempo, lo-fi snob, so I approached this album with reserve, thinking I knew what to expect. Not only was I dead wrong, but I quickly realized I had unearthed a veritable goldmine—a whole new level if I must—of electronic proportions.
Past Is Prologue is a full-bodied experience. Tycho delivers a carefully tailored mood, and deliberate peace of mind. Tracks like “Sunrise Projector”, Dictaphone’s Lament”, and the frightfully catchy “PBS” are legendary in their own right and harken a summer rainstorm of lucid, audible dreams. The minimal chatter on the blanketing “Cloud Generator” (the song samples the computer-generated NOAA weather radio voice), and the cornerstone track “A Circular Reeduction” favor a more inventive and cerebral take on an otherwise sleepy genre of music. You see, ambient music has the tendency to become repetitive and boring with each listen, perhaps even a bit cookie-cutter. But having listened to PIP at least 100 times, I have yet to reach that point. And I don’t think I will. This is smart, eco-conscious music for forward thinking bi-peds.
My recommendation is this: On a day where you have little to do, hit the repeat button on your iPod while you’re making tracks on terra firma or in the vertical world and see where this album takes you. If you aren’t much of into that, Past Is Prologue is also the perfect recipe for quiet time at the base of your favorite problem, camped out half way up an inspiring granite line on a cozy rest ledge, or when you find yourself bored with the same ol’, same ol’. Find it, and download it at www.amazon.com for 899 shiny, copper-coated pennies.