Com Truise - Iteration

by Joseph Majsterski Rating:8 Release Date:2017-06-16

Seth Haley, aka Com Truise, is an electronic journeyman. He's been putting out high-quality, middle-of-the-genre music for years, and he's found his groove across half a dozen previous releases. Iteration is well named, as, rather than breaking any major new ground, it's simply a refinement of previous works. This is in no way intended as a slight. As they say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. And Com Truise's work has never been broken.

A lot of the new album has a very mid-80s techno vibe, like it could be the soundtrack for the original Tron movie. For that matter, it would have fit with the newer one too. The set is absolutely loaded with rolling grooves in pretty much every tune. And while there is thematic continuity across the set, with layers and layers of synths doing just about all the work, and a feeling that most of the songs are somehow happening at night, or at best, dusk, many of the songs have their own distinct personalities.

Lead track '...Of Your Fake Dimensions' tends toward the epic, which the lead-in synths reminiscent of an airport landing strip guiding a craft in safely, and the echoing beats giving it an inexorable, irresistible power. The song does spiral off into somewhat atonal melodic noodlings toward the end, but nothing too bad. After slightly glitched-out intro, 'Isostasy' soars back and forth in big, sweeping dives before coming down to earth and doing a funky strut. 'Propogation' and 'Vacuume' might be the best examples of the welcoming, retro-now mood of many of the pieces, with their inviting, warm synth leads driving the openings.

On the flip side of that, a lot of the songs start with semi-creepy leads, but then bring in everything else and transform themselves into something a lot more fun. 'Memory', for example, has an up-and-down melody that sounds like it could have been in the recent Stranger Things soundtrack, indicative of the stomping approach of something horrific, but when the beat drops and the supporting synths come in, it's suddenly a dance party.

'Ephermeron' is somewhere between the disturbing and friendly approaches, but after progressing through a pretty standard, though not bad, lead, bass, and beat combination, it does the most experimentation of the set, pushing the sounds through a few different envelopes and letting the whole thing break down into incoherence at the end. 'Ternary' sounds like being picked up by a UFO and then taken to Europa for some ice skating. 'When Will You Find the Limit' feels like an ending song. There's a sense of summarization embedded in its slowly descending bassline and simple beats. Final track and title song 'Iteration' moves along at a brisk pace, and while it's solid, it comes off as blander than what's come before.

On the one hand, the set doesn't have a ton of impact. There's no particular track that stands out as game-changing or genre-defining. When I first listened, I wasn't incredibly impressed, although I wasn't necessarily put off either. On the other, after a couple weeks, I absolutely cannot stop listening to this album. I've had it running on repeat for days and it's lodged in my brain. It didn't take long for the entire thing to feel like a comfortable old shoe, something you could wear all the time. In the electronica realm, you could do much worse than pick up this near-instant-classic release.

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