Since the release of his last Com Truise LP (2017’s Iteration, also out on Ghostly International) Seth Haley has switched things up. Jaded by his sonic palette and working methods, Haley changed out his equipment and constructed a new set of core sounds to work with. The result is Persuasion System, a record that builds on Haley’s previous successes while still remaining identifiable as a Com Truise collection.
Anyone worried that Haley may have jettisoned the hypnagogic synth style on which he made his name can put those fears to bed. Many of the cuts here still buzz with the same ‘80s-indebted energy that has guided so much of Com Truise’s best work. Take lead single ‘Existence Schematic’ for example, a track that combines chunky synths with a head-snapping electro-groove for a real retro thrill. Many of the tracks on Persuasion System also have a reassuring familiarity to them - kind of like how Oneohtrix Point Never has also pushed his sound on in recent years without abandoning the cyberpunk dystopia that is the cornerstone of his aesthetic.
A notable step forward here is the way Haley colours in the spaces around the grooves on Persuasion System. Some of the entries display the ghost of a Braindance influence in their rhythm section programming, something we’ve not seen much of in the Com Truise oeuvre up until now. Even more interesting are the moments in which Haley begins to experiment with beatless episodes and wistful, slightly lo-fi electronic textures. The manner in which a couple of the tracks reconfigure thick synthetic lead tones as ambient sounds make us wonder if he’s been listening to a little Yung Sherman and Yung Gud. We even find guitars cropping up towards the end of the album, though the way they come cloaked heavily in reverb and delay smudges their edges nicely.
Persuasion System is an excellent addition to the sonic world of Com Truise, as he simultaneously travels back in time, while keeping his eyes and ears on to the future.