Ghostly International: For nearly a decade the story of Com Truise has relied on science fiction and abstract fact. Seth Haley’s singular style of melodic beat music subsists as hazy machinist nostalgia, a mainframe downloaded cosmology. Yet with each release, alongside sonic refinement, comes an increasingly visible vapor trail to Haley’s own ontology. His long-awaited 2017 LP Iteration brought to completion a conceptual space saga while also reflecting seismic life changes for the producer and designer. With mini-LP Persuasion System, Haley leaves the past narrative behind, settling into a new period marked by change — on this planet, in the present — putting forth his most grounded and visceral work to date.
The project began as an experiment. Haley switched digital audio workstations, rebuilt his palette of sounds, and tasked himself with simply trying it out. The exercise freed him of expectations and permitted a process that echoed the tones of more immediate external environments. A gravity had seeped in; resulting material shifts between bleakness and sublime suspense, awe at the expanse of existing, in looking back and letting go. “It’s a sort of sad smile and a wave goodbye but at the same time hello, a ‘welcome to your life’ moment,” Haley says. Take the storm pattern sequence from “Gaussian” to “Ultrafiche of You”: a queasy, contemplative vignette rests on a single soft-synth cloud before the latter’s percussion ripples across the sky. With trademark stutters and swells, the composition conjures the sensation of searching in the afterglow. “It’s a love song, and I don’t write many of those.”
That duality — melancholy + optimism, then + now — permeates this widescreen collection. “Existence Schematic” takes flight at night, “looking down at the landscape,” explains Haley, “seeing the lights in a schematic sort of way, wondering who or what is looking back up at me wondering the same things I am, the impact of a single existence, the end, the beginning, where it’s gone and going.” These are observations from this existential Persuasion System, and Haley hopes the music yields more, for others, that listeners may search for their own tension and release.