Tough to put a label on the sound of Com Truise (yes, an intentional – and clever! – play on Tom Cruise), one of many names under which Syracuse-born producer Seth Haley records.
Blending experimental synth-pop/synthwave with glitch elements, and wrapped in the protective blanket of a definitive, nostalgic ‘80s feel, Haley manages to create deep, lush soundscapes. He’s also responsible for the graphic design on all his work, again with a thick coating of ‘80s tech-inspired “glam.” It’s evident how much he cares about what he creates both musically and design-wise, and the dedication seems to have paid off, with a decently-sized fan base.
I won’t claim to know anything about the actual recording process (which is why I write ABOUT music, and not the music itself). But from what I’ve seen on his Instagram, and from the interviews I’ve read, apparently there is some type of process whereby Haley records a song, or a segment he wants to use, transfers it to actual VHS tape, and then re-dubs the snippet for an authentic “tape” experience. Pretty neat concept. I assume it’s a time-intensive, heady process, so I have mad respect for it.
Galactic Melt is an amalgam of experimental electronic styles. Haley’s music has been criticized with the run-of-the-mill “It all sounds the same!” nonsense. While I find merit in the sentiment (because a lot of the songs do share similarities), the claim that ‘they all sound alike’ is ignorant.
The best comparison I can make is one that was inspired by a trip I took last Saturday to the Salvador Dali museum in St. Petersburg (and also because I want to tell you, reader, to go at all costs because it was amazing – and if you’re a USF student, it’s free, so you have no excuse not to go). Looking at three or six or twelve Dali paintings, one realizes that while they share similar characteristics in terms of style and content, no two paintings are wholly alike. It’s the same concept here.
Since there’s no discernible lyrics on this thing (because I’m not accounting for the digitized, synth voices), I will posit this question: do you have a favorite nighttime driving record?
Galactic Melt might very well be mine.
Windows down, turned up as loud as you can go without wrecking your speakers. Driving to downtown or Ybor on a cool night – this record is perfect for that. Energetic at times to put you in a good mood, mellow enough to level you out.
And he’s a kind, engaging fellow to boot. Another of the many things I like about independently-minded artists, or bands from the “underground” scene (whatever that is) – there seems to be a lack of “rock star” attitude, and a genuine desire to connect with fans. In my travels since I started going to shows over a decade ago, I’ve rarely come away with a bad impression of bands whose music I respect and admire. David Bazan (Pedro the Lion), Aaron Weiss (mewithoutYou) and Johnny Whitney (Blood Brothers/Jaguar Love) come to mind immediately when I think about the “nicest” or most cordial, but Haley seems right up there too.
Good stuff, Seth.
Standout tracks: “VHS Sex” and “Flightwave”
Weakest track: Most of the time I don’t listen to all of “Ether Drift” but that’s not to say it’s bad.
RIYL: Vaporwave, synth-pop, retro vibes. Glitch Mob, Phantogram,