Release Date: Jun 28, 2011
Record label: Ghostly
Genre(s): Electronic, Indie Electronic
It hasn't even been five months since Ghostly re-released Com Truise's formative Cyanide Sisters EP, and already Princeton, N.J.'s Seth Haley is back with a full-length debut. That Galactic Melt has been pretty much in the can for that entire time tells you something about Haley's formidable work ethic; in addition to Truise, he operates under at least three other pseudonyms, none as fully-realized but each as prodigious. Haley's rapid-fire turnover plays incredibly well on the Internet.
Galactic Melt is Seth Haley's first album of all-new material for Ghostly International, following the label’s expanded reissue of Cyanide Sisters and a three-track single. It offers more bent fusions of synth funk, synth pop, and Italo disco -- hypnotically torpid, bass-heavy instrumentals that tend to be as tautly constructed as pop songs. As with Cyanide Sisters, there are no obvious highlights or low points.
New Jersey designer/musician Seth Haley (aka Com Truise) creates “mid-fi synth-wave, slow-motion funk” with a resolve that immediately perks up ears. His promising debut, Galactic Melt, is a true head-trip. The ‘80s grooves may seem faintly homogeneous, but when music is this melodically complex you tend to view that denigration as cohesiveness.Neon Indian, Twin Shadow, and Daft Punk travel in parallel universes to Com Truise, and Haley remixed all three artists last year.
Despite the gargantuan, often overbearing, scope of modern electronic music, many of the genre’s artists have taken it upon themselves to drop anchor in the ‘80s. Seth Haley is one such example, venturing Marty McFly-like to the middle of the decade and hauling along with him an array of 21st-century advancements in digital technology to blend with vintage, synth-heavy dance sounds. Com Truise is a fitting spoonerism for Haley, as Tom Cruise gained much of his notoriety during the decade whose sound Haley strives to emulate and update.
Com Truise makes 1980s inspired music, which, given the vast amount of 1980’s inspired music available at the moment, almost seems like an irrelevant descriptor. To say he makes it exceptionally well would be as much of a lie to say he makes it poorly. He takes a big, analog synth tone and pairs it with high-in-the-mix, sometimes overpowering drum machines.
I must confess: on first encountering Com Truise, I failed to recognize the Spoonerism in the band name, instead reading it as a play on “Come Trues.” Certainly we’re dealing here with dreams, but with those of the celluloid rather than the wish-fulfillment variety. And so, as I should have realized, the reference is in fact to a certain Scientologist of popular acquaintance. Are we dealing with the angry, angsty veteran of Born On The Fourth of July, the kinky doctor of Eyes Wide Shut, or even the shark-jumping couch-jumper of Oprah? Sadly, reader, the answer is that the Cruise we’re taken on here is a Cocktail party, but one in which Sex On the Beach is available only on VHS.
It’s a shame when the most entertaining thing about an album is the artist’s name, but, unfortunately, that’s where we find ourselves with Com Truise‘s full-length debut LP, Galactic Melt. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad album, as mastermind Seth Haley’s musicianship is nearly impeccable. The meticulous composition, bouncing synths, and grooving beats that roused the much-deserved acclaim and buzz surrounding the Cyanide Sisters EP are surely present throughout the album’s 10 tracks.
It would be unjust to pigeonhole Seth Haley’s debut LP as chillwave, as there’s so much more going on with Galactic Melt than that. Com Truise does make electronic music with ’80s-influenced production flair and loads of synthesizer work, but that’s where the similarities trail off. Less crossover-friendly and mostly instrumental, Galactic Melt opens with the ominous grit of “Terminal” and “VHS Sex” before allowing the distinctive keyboard stabs of “Cathode Girls” to take over.
Producer’s debut has more depth than a lot of stuff that’s been tagged as chillwave. Noel Gardner 2011 Although the music on Galactic Melt – the debut album, and first actual physical release, by Com Truise – is the culmination of several years’ worth of noodling around on myriad synths and computer programs, in 2011 it sits in a voguish place. Seth Haley, the figure behind this New Jersey-based solo project, seems to have little problem with acknowledging the part nostalgia plays in his imagery.