Up to this point, producer/musician Seth Haley has worked in specific narratives within his project Com Truise. A loose concept about a space traveler named Com Truise, a self-described “synthetic astronaut”, has been the ground floor of his big beats, walls of synths, and shimmering 80s ethos. VHS tapes, woozy sci fi, and latchkey afternoons all play into Com Truise’s musical DNA. 2017s Iteration saw the conclusion of the space traveler’s musical journey. That album felt like a coming down of sorts for the Com Truise sound. Iteration felt more restrained, honed in, and lean compared to sonic trunk rattlers like Galactic Melt and In Decay.
The first Com Truise album post-“synthetic astronaut” is the mini-album Persuasion System. Seth Haley sounds re-invigorated as a composer and musician. Free of the narratives he’s been working in since 2011 Haley takes the sound of Com Truise to new territory. At times eerie, melancholy, and sleek, Persuasion System is the beginning of a new era for Seth Haley.
A lot of Persuasion System comes from pure in-the-moment inspiration. Haley began from scratch sonically by switching digital audio workstations and rebuilt his sounds in this process. The record began as an experiment to see what he could do in this new environment, but quickly turned into one of Com Truise’s most inspired albums, albeit “mini-album”.
Right away you can tell this is a much different Com Truise. Album opener “Worldline” is all woozy, dream-like noise. It’s more reminiscent of Boards of Canada than anything Com Truise has done before, which leads right into title track “Persuasion System”. That woozy sound continues, but it is quickly accompanied by some rich rhythms. The track becomes a very percussive song, but all along that downbeat BoC vibe sits in the background.
One of the most engaging tracks is the elegant “Ultrafiche of You”. It’s a slow burn of a track with Haley’s signature crushing rhythms, but with more of a refined touch on the synths. There’s an emotional resonance here; less about visceral thrills and more about an emotional connection to the moment. “Existence Schematic” is an intense shot of Haley’s mid-fi synth-wave with even a bit of early NIN, all neatly configured to give us Com Truise 2.0. “Privilege Escalation” shines with sci fi brilliance. Really, this track is busting at the seams with neo-futuristic attitude and videotape wooziness. Don’t you dare touch that tracking button. This song is perfect just the way it is, electromagnetic lines and all. Final track “Departure” is a beautiful piece of synth composition. Giant swaths of synth are accompanied by what sounds like the makings of a mid-80s Cure track. Flanged bass and electronic drums join in only to fade into the ether.
As far as new beginnings go, this is one of the better ones. Com Truise’s Persuasion System is a beautifully contained musical world. Seth Haley has condensed his massive sound into a very personal and engaging listen. His bombast is still there, but with it an equal amount of eerie beauty and thoughtful sonic introspection.
8.2 out of 10