Tycho’s rise from a graphic designer’s passion project to pioneer in the ever-expanding sonic world of chillwave music has, by and large, been slow and steady. But that doesn’t mean Scott Hansen’s band hasn’t hit bumps in the road from time to time.

Tycho’s stop at The Wiltern in Los Angeles on Super Bowl Monday featured the occasional hiccup—along with some bits of charm and wit from Hansen himself to explain the brief technical difficulties. Such kinks are normal for the opening night of a whirlwind tour, especially for a performance that now features more analog elements than ever before, to go along with the group’s signature blend of ambient sounds and sharp-yet-pseudo-psychedelic visuals.

Related: Tycho Releases Short Film, ‘The Making Of Weather’ [Watch]

For Scott and company, those momentary missteps are as novel as they are exciting, and exciting precisely because they are novel. Nearly two decades since the project’s first self-released EP and a decade after it became a full-fledged band, Tycho has finally arrived as a live act that’s capably equipped to create and share an audio-visual experience that’s as intellectually stimulating as it is conventionally captivating.

Not even five months removed from a mesmerizing set at The Greek Theater, the band returned to L.A. with much of the same mystical fervor. With Zac Brown on guitar, Rory O’Connor on drums, and Billy Kim on bass, keys and synthesizer, Scott once again captained a show that swam seamlessly between warm, uplifting vibes and cooler, more brooding tunes, with the visuals to match each mood.

But even tracks as familiar to Tycho’s audience as “Awake” and “Hours” felt different. Performing them indoors—in an 1,850-person venue like The Wiltern, which vibrates so reliably and powerfully—had something to do with it. Certainly, the feel of a song like “Division”, with its reminiscence to some of Radiohead’s finest work, comes across quite differently when played somewhere more contained than, say, an outdoor amphitheater or the edge of the Black Rock Playa at sunrise.

Still, there was a deeper, more visceral quality to Tycho’s music this time around—and not just because of the prominence of newer tracks like “Weather”. To be sure, Hansen wasn’t trying to hide those wrinkles or the reasons behind them by any means. He made multiple mentions not only of the band’s use of amps, but how new that was for him and his players, particularly in a live setting.

For most veteran touring groups, an admission like that would seem entirely unnecessary. But for an act that began as a purely digital pursuit, it marked another major milestone in an ongoing metamorphosis.

So, too, did Tycho’s featuring of vocal accompaniments from Hannah Cottrell, known otherwise as Saint Sinner. This was far from Cottrell’s first go-round in the flesh with Tycho, but even for some of the band’s more seasoned supporters, the extent of her starring role came as a pleasant surprise. Her sultry delivery on “Skate”, “Japan”, and “For How Long” during the set and “No Stress” to close out the encore lent a level of lyricism to those songs that uplifted their ethereality while giving mere mortals something to latch onto from below.

Whether Tycho has truly transitioned into the musical mainstream remains to be seen. If the recently released track “Outer Sunset” is any indication, Hansen and company still have plenty of room for experimentation within a repertoire that’s trending more toward pop-friendly. Hansen himself has not been shy to share that Tycho’s upcoming album, Simulcast, will be more “abstract” than 2019’s Weather, “with instrumental soundscapes in place of lyrics.”

That said, Tycho has established a willingness and ability to venture into more tried-and-true musical modalities as laboratory tools. This dovetails perfectly with Tycho’s longstanding mission to provide a multi-sensory experience, bolstered by Hansen’s transfixing visuals. The latest set combined loosely narrative images with simple shapes, abstract elements and washed-out landscapes to form a powerful partner to the band’s rich soundscapes.

Throw in the more tactile vibrations offered by heavy instruments plugged into proper amps, and it’s fair to say that Tycho, rather than navigating within its well-worn lanes, may well be on the march to engage all five senses by the time Hansen’s creative days are done. And the more steps he and his bandmates take along that journey, the smoother the live transmission of that conquest is sure to become.

Check out some videos from Tycho at The Wiltern.

Tycho – “Rings” – 2/3/20

[Video: Miami Martin]

Tycho – “Daydream” – 2/3/20

[Video: Miami Martin]

Tycho – “Weather” – 2/3/20

[Video: Miami Martin]

View Videos

Scroll down to see a gallery of photos courtesy of Brandon Weil.

Setlist: Tycho | The Wiltern | Los Angeles, CA | 2/3/20

Set: Montana, Horizon, Rings, Apogee, Into the Woods, See, Spectre, Hours, Epoch, Division, Skate*, Japan*, For How Long*, A Walk, Weather

Encore: Awake, No Stress*

* w/ Saint Sinner