Com Truise

Photay, Beshken

Higher Ground Ballroom
All Ages

$23 advance | $25 day of show

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"Repetition is a form of change," reads one of Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies. Seth Haley knows the concept well, and his style of technicolour synth-wave takes the mantra as a challenge -- how much emotion can one man convey through his machines? Six years ago, Galactic Melt introduced space traveller Com Truise and his journey through far-flung galaxies, before mini-epics Wave 1 and Silicon Tare expanded the story in further cosmic detail. And now Iteration concludes this sprawling saga. True to its name, the album is built on Com Truise hallmarks: neon-streaked melodies, big drums, robotic grooves, bleary nostalgia. But Iteration is also the most elegant and streamlined that Haley's music has ever sounded.

At the album's heart is an elaborate narrative, one full of longing, hope, anxiety, and triumph. Iteration illustrates the last moments Com Truise spends on the perilous planet Wave 1, before he and his alien love escape its clutches to live in peace. Album opener ."..Of Your Fake Dimension" launches the interstellar drama with its anthemic swells and widescreen sound design, before lovesick songs like "Dryswch" and "Propagation" outline scenes wrought with cybernetic pathos. In "Isostasy," the synaesthetic quality of Haley's compositions is presented in ultra-high-definition. Later, the frantic rhythms of "Syrthio" conjure images of panicked flight as Haley's gorgeous synth melodies gild the action in quiet heartbreak. Then comes the resounding "When Will You Find The Limit...," when Iteration's pain and sadness finds liberation in the vast unknown. The closing title track ends it all in a gush of majestic revelry.

So goes the winding story that Iteration tells, and yet there's more behind its telling. "I try hard not to write from my personal life, but it's inevitably going to seep into the music," Haley explains. "It's basically like I'm scoring this film in my head, but that film I'm scoring is also somehow my life." There are glimpses of the difficult time the East Coast native spent adjusting to a new life in Los Angeles, fighting homesickness and burnout while also touring the world. It was a time full of uncertainty, transition, and self-realization. After a year and a half of living in California, Haley finally recaptured his creativity by finding new excitement in his work. "I put more air, more breathing room in the music -- that was the big change," he says. And once that clicked, the album quickly materialized.

Such a clear refinement of the Com Truise sound took time to develop, but Iteration is well worth the patience and perseverance it cost. Some of Haley's smartest, catchiest work is here, from the weightless pop heights of "Memory" to "Ternary"'s lush synth-funk. A song like "Vacuume" somehow manages to balance massive bass swells and punishing drums with stuttering angelic gasps, and "Usurper" gracefully pairs subtle poignant melodies with uplifting dance beats. "For me, it feels like change," Haley says of his second album, and yes, this is Com Truise like never before. By embracing the music's inherent nature and peerless qualities, Iteration finds new avenues of expression in its vivid, familiar surroundings.

https://pho-tay.com

Photay’s debut full-length Onism inherits the same historical tension in an age of climate change and social media addiction. It is also a reflection of personal conditions, a meditation on place, community, and its creator’s own embodied history. The word ‘onism,’ invented by John Koenig, means the frustration of being stuck in just one body that inhabits only one place at a time.

To grasp onism is to be apprised of how little of the world you have experienced, are experiencing, or will ever experience. Photay (Evan Shornstein) composed Onism in the heart of Brooklyn and shrouded by the silence of national parks or on trips home to the woodlands of the Hudson Valley in between touring the urban centers of foreign countries. Scattered but connected, Onism’s music is a constellation that rips across the night sky of time, charting an emotional reality defined by sadness and joy, dread and wonder.

Shornstein contrasts spacious near-silence with bombastic saturated peaks. Fangled robotic tones (‘Screens’) meet with forest floor ambience (’Storm’), evoking visual designs for the built and natural worlds, while the overwhelm of metropolis (‘Balsam Massacre’) and the digital age (‘The Everyday Push’) is eased by the liberatory forests of Woodstock (‘Outré Lux’ feat. Madison Mcferrin) and assumptions into imagined realities (‘Bombogenesis’). The demonic swing of ‘Balsam Massacre’ imagines the sounds of a tree’s innards as it is felled with a chainsaw, while ’Storm’ thunders distantly in triumphant reverie.

On ‘Aura,’ Shornstein sings for the second time in his career (“Take the time to hear yourself”). The message hints at a common denominator to his meditations, resonating also as a warning to the world, an everyday push to the role of electronic music in storytelling the future of the global environmentalist movement.

https://soundcloud.com/beshkenmusic

New York-based producer and multi-instrumentalist Beshken is self-releasing his album Aisle of Palm, due June 17th. Arriving on the heels of two 2018 singles, “Victim”, “The Medicine” and the 2017 EP, For Time Is the Longest Distance Between Two People, this latest record coalesces elements of indie, experimental dance, ambient, psychedelia and dream-pop. It’s a highly personal testament to Beshken’s chameleonic dance between genres. Exploring the point where acoustic recording and digital rendering meet, Aisle of Palm is an effective lesson in how field recordings, synthesizers, and introspective lyrics can fuse into a challenging, yet accessible format.

Venue Information:
Higher Ground Ballroom
1214 Williston Road
South Burlington, VT, 05403