Album Review : Com Truise ‘Iteration’

Yeah, I know that name annoys some people. It doesn’t me, but I get it. Seth Haley’s musical project Com Truise has been making retro-futuristic electronic music since the release of 2011s Galactic Melt. Musically he’s somewhere between Tron and Vestron Video opening sequences with some serious bass crushing the low end of even the best home stereo. To some it may come across schtick-y, but there’s some depth here if you just open your head to it. Galactic Melt and 2012s In Decay both displayed serious programming and production skills in Haley, as well as his deft knack for creating vintage sonic sounds heard throughout the late 70s and early 80s in weird commercials, home video rentals, and sci-fi movies. But putting nostalgia aside, Com Truise is a solid electronic outfit that pushes heavy robotic grooves and ray gun blasts of 808 beats and vintage synth swagger.

If you can’t tell, I’m a fan.

If you did the math, it’s been 5 years since a new full-length release from Haley’s Com Truise. There have been plenty of EPs to satisfy our retro electro geek appetite, but finally a new main course has arrived on the menu. Iteration has arrived and it was worth the wait.

I don’t know how old Seth Haley is, but I can only imagine that some of his formative years were spent in the neon decade watching cable access after school and staying up late at night to watch T&A horror and weird 70s sci fi. His formula for electronic music up to this point has been big and brash. Teeth-rattling beats, big and bold synths, and an air of Miami Vice-meets-Outland. It seems, though, that the five years between In Decay and Iteration has mellowed Haley out a bit. He still displays a confidence in his music and the synths are still bold, but there’s also a sense of subtlety here. He’s pulled back the galactic melt for a deep space calm. “…Of Your Fake Dimension”, which opens the record, almost has the feeling of an electro Cure. This is what might’ve happened had Robert Smith gone in a more Kraftwerk direction for Disintegration. I’m not sure what you think of that, but in my head I’d like to spend a few days in that alternate universe. Com Truise fares well with a lighter touch, and this song proves it.

“Ephemeron” sounds like a stroll through Summit City Mall in 1985. You can almost see teens hanging out at the Hot Sam and Orange Julius stand, or leafing through cassettes and posters at Musicland. A lazy hot summer jam. “Isostasy” has a bit of that old school Com Truise funk. Space Station struts and zero gravity highs. “Memory” is a different beast than the rest. It has that horror funk vibe, something you’d expect to hear coming from Antoni Maiovvi or Umberto. In Com Truise’s hands it has more good vibes than bad ones. There’s a bit of a Le Matos vibe here as well.

Elsewhere, “Ternary” floats along a cloud of Juno dreams and sunset drifts while “Syrthio” is as close to ambient music as Com Truise has gotten. “When Will You Find The Limit…” has a lighter touch, all happy end credit scene and floating on a cloud optimism as title track “Iteration” closes the album on some serious 80s dance grooves.

Seth Haley, aka Com Truise, has reigned in the electro boom bap funk of the previous Com Truise LPs and has honed in on melody and feel this time around. Iteration is the best Com Truise album yet. Open your head and let the retro-futuristic grooves do some damage.

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