Com Truise is the nom de guerre of producer and designer Seth Haley, born-and-raised in upstate New York and currently working out of Los Angeles. His synth- and sci-fi-obsessed records are as infectious as they are expansive. From 2011’s Galactic Melt LP to its long-awaited follow-up, Iteration, Com Truise has refined his singular style of melodic beat music. Each piece ties together his ideas of “synth-wave” and “slow-motion funk” amidst a glowing backdrop of rich, nostalgic pathos.
Haleys been making music for over 15 years, dabbling as a DJ and with a number of aliases before locking into Com Truise. Though undoubtedly influenced by his parents’ record collections and old, faded product design, the Com Truise project doesn’t only pull from the past. Hints of Joy Division, New Order, and Cocteau Twins bubble up in every prismatic piece, but it’s as if they’re processed through a waterlogged game consolewarped, cybernetic, and high-definition. Somehow, Com Truise sounds both familiar and uncanny, and always beautifully handmade.
The first Com Truise release was the Cyanide Sisters EP, where mellow zone-outs were juxtaposed with IDM bangers and bumpy, trippy synth-funk. Once Haley joined the Ghostly roster, his tale of the character “Com Truise”, the first robot astronaut, took flight on his debut album, the critically acclaimed Galactic Melt. Multiple EPs and 2012’s In Decay, a collection of B-sides and rarities, expanded the backstory and narrative, taking the AI protagonist through unknown galaxies and war-torn planets. He even finds love and wrestles with heartbreakof course, only in the ways a sophisticated android can.
Six years after this saga began, Iteration finally wraps up Haley’s sprawling narrative, doing so with the most refined music of his career. The album illustrates the last moments Com Truise spends on the perilous planet Wave 1, before he and his love escape its clutches to live in peace. It’s also the most personal record Haley has written to date, as the story mirrors his personal struggles of moving across the country and overcoming creative burnout. But Iteration is ultimately a story of triumph and self-realization, told by the singular, emotionally resonant sound of a man and his machines.
Los Angeles producer Jason Chung crafts stately, ethereal synth-based instrumental hip-hop, with influences that range from Boards of Canada and DJ Shadow to Danny Elfman and Erik Satie. An L.A. native, Chung was inspired at an early age by the hip-hop radio stations that the bus driver would play on his way to elementary school, and particularly by the Beat Junkies’ turntablism on Power 106. In high school, while delving into the sounds of drum’n’bass and the rave scene and playing quad toms in the school drum line, he figured out how to use his father’s old PC to start programming beats of his own. Further along, Chung was motivated to move in more experimental directions by the D.I.Y. rock scene at L.A.’s underground venue The Smell, where he made his live debut as Nosaj Thing in 2004. Through online and in-person networking, on message boards and, eventually, at the more beat-oriented music spot Low End Theory, Chung came into contact with likeminded Angelenos including Flying Lotus, Nobody, Daedelus, and local legends (and personal heroes) like D-Styles and Daddy Kev. Following the self-released Views/Octopus EP in 2006 (whose track “Aquarium” was later used by rapper Kid Cudi as the basis of his “Man on the Moon”), he signed with Kev’s Alpha Pup imprint for his full-length debut, Drift, in 2009. Chung has also contributed beats to MCs Busdriver and Nocando, and made remixes for Flying Lotus, The xx, Daedelus, Radiohead, and Smell staples Health.
His debut album Drift was released by Alpha Pup in June 2009 to unanimous global acclaim. Pitchfork awarded an excellent 7.9 rating, calling the album “gorgeously haunted… sonic Easter Eggs for a thousand listens.” The album peaked at 5 on the iTunes Electronic chart, and went all the way to 1 on Bleep and Boomkat. The success of Drift led to Nosaj Thing being featured in magazines such as Spin, Fader, XLR8R, The New Yorker, Nylon and URB. He has received regular airplay on BBC Radio 1 and Los Angeles’ KCRW, while his engaging live set has made him a staple of the worldwide underground touring circuit.