LA residing Seth Haley, the man behind Com Truise, knows a thing or two about set-dressing. His space-funk sound has always been rendered in crystalline clarity, and on previous album Iteration, he expressed a newfound appreciation of groove and melody to furnish his baroque soundscapes.
Follow up ‘mini-album’ Persuasion System (Truise has a way with these semi-ironic, snappy headers) dials back the intensity over nine tracks which, in the main, emphasise atmosphere.
Opening with the floaty synth tones and sub-aquatic bass of ‘Worldline’ and the title track, Persuasion System shifts gears on ‘Gaussian’, which is elemental in the strictest sense. The rumble of thunder and gentle drizzle usher in softly ascending notes, conjuring a view from the stratosphere of clouds slowly passing below.
The presence of real instruments is always an event on a Com Truise album, given his entirely synthetic nature, and the bittersweet piano figures really add to the beauty of the track. Later on they enhance the jangly energy of ‘Kontex’. They fit the somnambulant tone of the album – the only spike of the usual frantic, hit-hat-heavy energy coming from ‘Existence Schematic’.
This latest project showcases another major attraction of Haley’s work: supreme confidence. Persuasion System moves at a carefully measured pace, never rushing to an easy hook or choreographed drop. It can be frustrating sometimes waiting for a track to kick to life, but the rush when it does, in the most surprising ways, is always what brings me back to the Com Truise project.
Watching an artist feel out new styles and sounds can be satisfying, but it can be awkward and embarrassing too: particularly when it isn’t a good fit. Persuasion System doesn’t stray far from Com Truise staples, but it is delivered with such a clear and uncompromising vision that it is a genuine pleasure to listen to, take in, reappraise, pick apart. In a genre which can pander to nostalgia Haley is an auteur creating his own corner of the world, rendered through the warp of VHS tracking.