Over the last few years there have been albums made – or curated – to soundtrack pretty much every human activity. Whether you’re dancing, sleeping, “chilling” (yuck), working out, running or making sexy time, there’s a record to accompany it. With one glaring exception: work. Given that most of us, reluctantly or otherwise, spend the vast majority of our waking hours sitting in an office staring at a screen, it’s odd that apparently no musician or record label has attempted to corner the market in office soundtracks – although it could be argued that the likes of Throbbing Gristle’s ‘Hamburger Lady’ or Suicide‘s ‘Frankie Teardrop‘ already articulate the dubious joys of office life for many of us.
I can usually be found sat at my desk, headphones on, staring intently at app prototypes or WordPress dashboards, and my quest to find the perfect soundtrack goes on. Eno is a favourite, with the distraction of remembering every few minutes that I’m listening to BRIAN FUCKING ENO and he deserves a lot more attention; so is jazz, but even at the mellower end – Dexter Gordon or Bill Evans for example – I all too often find myself marvelling at the musicianship or falling down one of those endless Youtube jazz rabbit holes (jazz rabbit holes! There’s a thought). What I really want is the musical equivalent of a glass of water, a bowl of white rice or a visit to Ikea – something that satisfies a very specific need and doesn’t distract me by being remotely interesting, and that I’ll have forgotten within seconds once it’s over.
Step forward Californian electronic musician Tycho, AKA Scott Hansen, who, over the course of four gloriously forgettable albums, has become my go-to guy when I really need to get that webpage built or that blog post written. Now regular readers of my reviews, should they exist, are probably thinking that I’m being sarcastic or gearing up to give Epoch a slagging – after all, when you’ve had outraged Sleaford Mods fans drawing spurting cocks on your LinkedIn profile photo and sharing the results on Twitter, you do get a certain reputation – but nothing could be further from the truth.
Because Epoch does exactly what I ask of it. It blots out background noise, be it our fleapit of an office’s clunking aircon unit, my colleagues talking, or someone (oh please god no) actually ringing my mobile, and helps me focus on what I’m doing, without ever making the slightest impression on me whatsoever. I’ve listened to it five times already – just like Tycho’s other albums – and I couldn’t tell you a thing about it, other than that it’s pleasant, it’s largely electronic, and it sounds like the work of someone who eats gluten-free and smiles in recognition whenever they see an inspirational quote on their Facebook feed.
The album title is forgettable. The song titles – ‘Horizon’, ‘Slack’, ‘Source’, ‘Local’, ‘Rings’ etc – are forgettable. The whole damn package is a masterpiece in perfectly realised vacuousness. In fact, I’m listening to it again right now, for the sixth time, and I STILL can’t tell you anything about it. But fuck me, I ain’t ‘arf productive.
God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.