Youtube, boring afternoon.
I’m about to start a lazy search for some new music, surfing from clip to clip based on how much the promo cover attracts me.
My eyes get caught on this one, orange and electric blue designing the stylized profile of a face which projects its own shadow in front of itself, like it’s splitting in two.
Com Truise – Dreambender.
Name is classy, undoubtedly.
I press play thinking that the cover reminds me of the one from another album, Loops from the Bergerie by Swayzak, record that I bought years ago just because of the cover, and later loved since the first hearing.
Hope to be lucky again.
So the bass starts, grim and expanded, sounds vaguely new-wave.
Electronic drum adds, simple but well articulated.
Then synths come, and hell with them.
You see, what Com Truise (known as Seth Haley) is able to achieve with Mac, sequencer and effects, is an incredible twine of genres spacing from new-wave atmospheres to keygen’s crack jingles, from 8bit to electronic minimalism, from psychedelic to pop, from circuit bending to the dark halo of post-punk.
Mister Haley, californian man, is part of the independent scene since about three years ago, Ghostly Records signer. In his past he was a Drum ‘n’ bass DJ, but he found home into Chillwave.
Anyway, I just let myself sink into his 2012 album In Decay, and my thirst gets satisfied.
Com Truise is as much ephemeral as sturdy, and his major perk is the measure he can impart to the sound shapes that he creates. When I speak about shapes, I literally mean geometrical.
Above the refreshing void of his pads, seemingly first almost casual and out of tone, the warmth of wet quadrasynth suddenly appears, modulated, multifaced, and suddenly the juxtaposition of instruments becomes a bittersweet melody, poetic and finally defined.
So Dreambender, which starts with a bass line similar to Joy Division‘s, becomes, in just few seconds, a melancholic yet bright psychedelic motive.
Same goes for Colorvision, where a crass, dripping synth defines the rythm for a bright and obstinate sine, and from dense and monochromatic the song become a flickering of coloured lights.
Another little jewel is Stop, which brings the flavour of german minimal electronic from the Seventies, ignited by a pad which narrates and dialogues with a caleidoscopic oscillator that reminds of Silver Apples.
After the discovery of such a beauty, I promptly seize the debut record too, Galactic Melt (2011): a rich mine of electronic music and more, in ten tracks.
Here, from time to time, my ear catches sound references like Chromatics, oddly enough, perfectly integrated in their opaque and intmist tone with the gaudy and primitive roughness of that mad genious that is Binaerpilot.
Brokendate, another trip in the oxymoric emotion that is homesickness, which melts the sadness due to distance from home in dear remembrance; that odd synth keeps changing from major to minor mode, perfectly expressing the unavoidability of certain moods.
A record that is a “song of ice and fire” (just to lay down some big TV show name there), but fully calibrated by Truise’s apollinean balance of taste.
VHS Sex or Hyperlips are modern hymns to the epicness of Kraftwerk‘s Man Machine; Glawio is a sound experience which reminds some of Autechre‘s whims.
Finally, just to take some revenge over Pitchfork.com and its review of Com Truise’s work, I must say it’s not at all true that Haley’s attempt to create music “to travel” to is failed.
He doesn’t seek the easy way to stun and impress the listener, he doesn’t want to be sensational, but to recreate the sensation.
Almost tactile, I dare to say.
It never explodes, that is true, but I guess that it was never the point.
The nostalgia about oscillators and synth that is the base of his research is perfectly in line with a contemporary intimist poetic, without any stretching.
Haley use those cold, synthetic sounds from the classic second wave of electronic music, and molds them in warm, emotional scenographies, where he can set an intimate show, which is both playful and dramatic.
He takes those minimal elements and puts them together in a baroque structure, measured nontheless, which embraces the sentiment of the moment and narrates it like a eccentric syntheticism of a child-prophet who suggests, and tells, but doesn’t force the dogma.
He fills eyes and ears up with visions of wonderful landscapes into the distant horizon, where enchanted toy cities never-to-be-reached witness to weird and amazing things happening, where everything seems to remind you of something, just not the way that you once knew it.
I dare you to listen to his music walking down the street, without seeing everything turning into an unusual, shifty, giant and colorful videogame.