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Com Truise – Cyanide Sisters review

Out of a garage in Princeton, New Jersey, self-confessed synthesizer obsessive Rich Haley has been making odd but interesting music for the best part of a decade. He first utilized the brilliant Com Truise moniker in the summer of 2010, when his Cyanide Sisters EP dropped on AMDISCS. Initially distributed free of charge, it got tongues wagging sufficiently to prick the ears of Ghostly International – hence this timely reissue, complete with a slew of new tracks.

Haley’s musical ethos is seemingly simple. His music, whether upbeat, downtempo, dancefloor-minded or sofa-centric, is entirely made with synthesizers and computers. Sonically, there are some parallels with the work of, say, Emperor Machine – circa Vertical Tones & Horizontal Noise, rather than his more recent dancefloor offerings – and Mark Pritchard and Dave Brinskworth’s Harmonic 33 releases for Warp. Yet Haley’s sound is largely far more bold and positive, with less distinct horror influences. His synths might be old, but he wants them to make sweet, melodious noise, rather than dark and fuzzy atmospheric sketches.

In many ways, Cyanide Sisters is something of a musical calling card. It demonstrates Haley’s ability to craft pieces that defy easy categorization. “5891”, for example, sounds like a mangled, next-level rework of Pet Shop Boys’ “West End Girls”, while “BASF Ace” could be the mutant offspring of Autechre and Bootsy Collins. There are more simplistically optimistic offerings, too – check “Sunripened”, “Slow Peels” and the title track – as well as crunchier offerings that fit into the synth-wave formula. Whatever you call it, Haley’s music is playful, emotive and joyously addictive. If left-of-centre analogue funk is your thing, look no further.

Matt Anniss