Com Truise album review: ‘Wave 1’

Com Truise (Seth Haley) will perform in Washington. (Philistine DSGN)
March 7, 2014
“Wave 1”

Kindred spirits: Tycho, CFCF, Cameo

Show: With Phantoms on Wednesday at DC9. Show starts at 9 p.m. 202-483-5000. $12 in advance, $14 at
the door.

At once futuristic and retro, Com Truise’s “Wave 1” sets the controls for a spacey tomorrow-land, but on a flight path that traverses yesterday’s synth-soul and drum-and-bass. The mini-album’s opener, “Wasat,” is characteristic — beginning as intergalactic burblings but soon shifting to a funky strut.

Com Truise is the pseudonym of New Jersey graphic designer/electronica composer Seth Haley. (Apparently Tom Cruise, also a pretty good cosmic pilot name, was taken.) Where Haley’s previous release, “In Decay,” was dark and downtempo, “Wave 1” is more playful and pop-oriented. “Declination,” featuring Joel Ford’s breathy vocals, shimmers and coos like a less-bookish version of mid-’80s Scritti Politti. That’s the only track that might be called a song, but others include unexpected melodic elements. The title track features a jaunty, almost rockabilly riff, played on something that sounds a bit like a guitar.

Such pieces as “Mind” and “Subsonic” are more dance-clubby, with thumping percussion and squelchy bass. Whichever mode he’s in, Haley disrupts the flow with jittery percussion breaks and glitchy synth-strings. The jumpiest track is “Miserere Mei” (Latin for “have mercy on me”), whose jazzy shifts recall mid-’90s Spring Heel Jack.

Even at its most upbeat, “Wave 1” regularly provides intriguing rhythmic surprises.

Mark Jenkins

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