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Com Truise

Melting Off The Past

Jul 15, 2011 Com Truise
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Electronic artists are often judged by the “warmth” of their sounds. Princeton, New Jersey synth-wave revivalist Com Truise (aka Seth Haley) knows this all too well and went straight to the source of all that analog warmth: the Reagan era. The arpeggiated synthesizers and meaty drum machines on Haley’s Cyanide Sisters EP and debut full-length, Galactic Melt, stem from the 26-year-old producer’s burgeoning love for ‘80s electronic music. Haley, who grew up in the rural town of Oneida, New York, ponders what the catalyst was that spurred his current fascination with the minimal textures of early synth-pop.

“Four years ago, I was anti-‘80s music and all [into] Boards of Canada,” he says. “I think I started watching more ‘80s films and I slowly came to realize what I was missing out on. I grew up hearing the last bit of the ‘80s, like an empty gas tank running on fumes.”

Haley recently quit his digital art director job working for a pharmaceutical advertising agency. He enjoyed the “branding knowledge” he received, despite its “small lack in creative freedom.” Ultimately, he wanted to give his artistic pursuits more time to simmer within his brain. (Haley makes all the artwork for his releases.) His determination paid off with a thematically stark and sonically dazzling debut.

Galactic Melt‘s synth-bass melodies bounce between ear buds, and a Boards of Canada-like haze wafts over the Korg Poly-61 and Oberheim Matrix-6-created tunes. The heat produced by both man and machine reigns supreme. It’s a vocal-less release that derives plenty of enjoyment out of warping commonplace sounds. “VHS Sex” and “Flightwave” use the built-in voice utility on an Apple computer, as “smudged through a frequency shifter.” Even more interesting is the vocal sample from “Brokendate.”

“That is from a record about dating,” says Haley. “It’s a narrative record on where and how to meet ‘chicks.’ If you pick up chicks on the beach, you can really see what you are getting. It’s good advice.”

Haley’s dream for the release doesn’t end with warped samples.

Galactic Melt is a “sort of film score,” he says, “from the mind,” which chronicles the rise and fall of Com

Truise, the world’s first synthetic/robotic astronaut, as he travels to Wave 1, a newly-revealed galaxy. The inter-stellar through-line stems from the sci-fi geek’s love of smart genre films such as Blade Runner, Futureworld, and Westworld. The musician also got back into playing video games this spring.

“I was playing Dead Space 2, but I just picked up Duke Nukem Forever, the nostalgia factor in play,” he admits. “It got bad reviews, but who believes reviews anyways?”

There’s also a more private theme embedded within the long-player’s title.

“It means melting off the cold, the past, and all the thoughts that come from that time,” says Haley. “Sort of like a recharge or a rebirth. It also fits in with the story of the record.”

That “melt” he talks about is also evident when considering his artistic history. He has multiple songwriting aliases, such as Sarin Sunday, Airliner, and Systm. In addition, he used to DJ drum ‘n’ bass music a few years ago.

Overall, Haley is an adventurous personality that is fine with dissolving away the redundant aspects of his music as Com Truise.

“I like the exaggerated simplicity of ‘80s electronic music,” he says. “I’ve had people say, ‘Your drums and patterns are all the same,’ but I see that restraint and minimalism as a benefit, not a weakness.”


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Phil Melugin
January 22nd 2013

Many of us have physicals, visit the eye doctor and dentist, and do a myriad of other things on an annual basis, so why not career planning?