It was yet another frigid cold night in Minneapolis, the roads were garbage and the wind was biting. I’m sure every single one of us knows the drill. I was ready to transport myself to 1983 Miami, where the synths were plentiful and the weather was actually nice. What better artist to go see than Com Truise, a mainstay of the reemergence of synthwave that gained wider popularity in the early 2010s. If you’re not familiar with synthwave, imagine the movies, video games and art of the 80s mashed together with Tron. I like to imagine a lot of Com Truise’s music is all about a hazy beach sunset aesthetic.
Com Truise, aka Seth Haley, started making music in 2007, at the very beginning of the synthwave movement. Originally an art director, he tendered his resignation right after he released his first song under the spoonerism of Tom Cruise, Com Truise. From there he has consistently been adding his 80s aesthetic to the music world through original releases and remixes that have been featured in movie soundtracks like Tron: Legacy (A reboot of an 80s movie, naturally.)
Com Truise’s set at the Exchange was a bit different than your typical show. It was a DJ set, which means instead of playing through only his repertoire of music, artists often will mix in their on renditions of other artists, or in some cases (like Purity Ring at the Exchange in 2016) they will play only remixes and their takes on other tracks, save for one or two of their own hits. Com Truise chose to mix songs in and out but retained the entire 80s aesthetic for the entirety of the set. The synth dominated on all tracks, and all tracks screamed the 1980s. As crowd member put it: “how could you not be happy listening to this? Imagine beating up someone to this, you can’t”
The set drifted in and out of his own work, with all of it being entirely instrumental, it was hard to tell at times what was his, and what was not, but for the most part you could tell through samples that drifted outside of his normal repertoire. If you’re looking for an idea of what it sounded like, “Cyanide Sisters,” “Isostasy,” “Memory,” & “Propagation” are a good place to start. Also, other artists that are a good analogue are Power Glove and Timecop1983.
Com Truise himself was just like all the photos, very stoic and calm through out the entire set, giving XXYYXX a run for his money in the cool, calm & collected department. The crowd was the exact opposite, more in line with what you would imagine the 80s aesthetic to be like. The people danced, got very silly, but just like the music stayed very calm.
Next time Minnesota, show Com Truise some love! I know it was a Wednesday night, but more people need to appreciate his brand of music. Especially in a city like Minneapolis, where we’re known for an unusually diverse and amazing music scene for a city our size. There weren’t nearly enough people at Com Truise! I encourage everyone to go to one of his shows next time he stops by town!