Com Truise / Clark with Roland Tings
Wave 1 is the first new transmission the world has received from producer Seth Haley since his gloriously futuristic debut album Galactic Melt. That album cataloged the genesis and evolution of Haley’s alter ego Com Truise — the world’s first synthetic/robotic astronaut, as Haley described him — and this EP continues the character’s journey into the outer reaches of the musical multiverse. In the process, it also builds on Haley’s signature production style, one that’s rooted in classic sci-fi sounds and analogue textures but nevertheless manages to sound utterly contemporary.
The EP takes its name from the newly discovered galaxy to which the intrepid astronaut’s voyages take him, and there certainly seems to be a narrative structure to its sequencing. Opening track “Wasat” sets the scene, providing a brief, atmospheric prelude that quickly settles into an uptempo, hypercolor groove. “Mind” is an exercise in dramatic tension, its beats constantly threatening to explode into a full-fledged four-to-the-floor stomp, but never quite doing so. “Declination,” which features guest vocals from Joel Ford (Airbird, Ejecta, Ford & Lopatin), glides into your headphones like a starship slipping down out of hyperspace — it’s the EP’s most melodic moment, and perhaps the most straightforwardly melodic tune in the Com Truise oeuvre to date.
“Subsonic” is full of dramatic grandeur, marking the moment at which the EP’s initial rush of energy subsides into the sort of dramatic, slow-building textures that should really be soundtracking the birth of new stars. The track evolves through several movements, and is full of evocative electronic textures (along with one hell of a squelchy bass sound). “Valis Called (Control)” maintains the reflective mood, while “Meserere Mei” is all fractured beats and jagged textures. The title track brings the record to a close with an air of serenity, the melody line drifting away into the distance on washes of sci-fi synth sounds.
Haley described Galactic Melt as a “sort of film score…from the mind,” and Wave 1 works the same way, evoking the latest stage in the intergalactic journey of Com Truise — and leaving you wondering what corner of the cosmos he’ll visit next.
Music is like sculpture. It’s like trying to capture a moment of ultimate momentum, and distill it forever”. – Clark, August 2014
‘Clark’, boldly eponymous, is the Warp experimentalist’s seventh album in 13 years? climaxing a narrative that commenced with ‘Clarence Park’, the first “Clark” attributed album ‘Body Riddle’, through the Yin and Yang of ‘Turning Dragon’ and ‘Iradelphic’, and finely honed through this year’s ‘Superscope’ EP and visually intense Phosphor live show.
This is where the sounds of the machine meet the sounds of the world. A protracted club experience distilled into a cinematic, immersive whole. Clark’s chiseled vision of techno contextualized for a postrave environment the clean, cold edges of technology eroded over time to produce raw, fascinating new textures.
These textures lay the foundations for a hugely kaleidoscopic listening experience filled with warmth. Memorable songwriting packed with melody and subtle, unpredictable shifts in mood? a finely balanced mix of electronic composition, heads down techno, human nature and the environment it was created in.
“I wanted to let the weather in with this album”, Clark explains. “It’s outward looking, it’s drenched in sounds of the outside world, sounds free from human intervention: branches crackling in the wind, storms brewing, the stillness of settling snow. It’s all in there, amongst the moreish crunch of industrial machinery”.
These real world elements offer a sense of a meditation that beckons the listener to leave human desires behind. A detailed field recording of boots in snow creeps into an echo of piano house on ‘Strength Through Fragility’, swallowing up the melancholy of the melody rather ruthlessly, teasing these things out of the listener as the track progresses. The essence of the new being carved from an unheard ancientness appears throughout ‘Clark’, a tactile interaction between alien elements creating something that would not have otherwise existed.
The machines hold their own against nature: ‘Banjo’ is a straight up MPC/synth funk jam played over three notes, the hypnotic arpeggios of ‘Unfurla’ are underpinned by a solid 4/4 kick drum, peakrave euphoria is captured in ‘There’s a Distance In You’. At its essence ‘Grit In The Pearl’ is more Berghain than Guggenheim a club banger, albeit in a parallel dimension filtered through the ‘Clark’ lens, lending new context to its spiralling rave chords.
The theme of reduction, a sculpture of sound, wins out in the end. Closing beatless piece ‘Everlane’ is a cathartic conclusion to ‘Clark’, the elements ultimately refined into timeless, ethereal melodies echoing into the ages:
“It straddles this fine line of being ultimate bliss and sadness at the same time. I find this emotional terrain compelling and keep on coming back to it. I need that epic sense of closure”.
‘Clark’ will be released by Warp Records on 3rd November 2014.
Roland Tings is Melbourne’s jack-track anomaly with a penchant for acid coastlines and nebulous rhythms. With his acclaimed, debut self-titled album released earlier this year on Prins Thomas’ label Internasjonal, and two 12” releases for 100% Silk and Club Mod under his belt, Roland Tings returns with his latest offering, ‘Hedonist’. The track is the first single from Tings forthcoming EP, set for release in early 2016.
‘Hedonist’ was inspired by a hike that Roland Tings (real name: Rohan Newman) took in Mt Buffalo National Park, in regional Victoria, Australia. The track features samples that Tings recorded at the top of Mt McLeod. Rohan says, “It was the middle of summer and I’d just returned from living in Berlin for six months. The contrast was incredible. I was obsessed with the smell of the eucalyptus trees, the colours of the bush and the freedom that comes with living in such a sparsely populated country. At the top of the hike was this beautiful alpine meadow on a plateau.”
“We didn’t take enough water – we ran out in the morning before the hike back down. Just when things were looking really bad, I heard rushing water. We dug through some loose foliage and there was a pristine mountain stream flowing through dry bush in a granite channel, that must have been carved over millions of years. The water was ice cold and we went from having nothing to having more than we needed. It was 35 degrees. ‘Hedonist’ tried to capture this – the open meadow, the rushing cold water thru the scorching hot Australian alpine bush, huge moths circling the top of the mountain at sunset, gravel crunching under feet.”
Forged from Melbourne’s forward-thinking nightlife institutions, Roland Tings made his recording debut with the Milky Way EP, released on L.A. based cult label 100% Silk. Having laid the ground-work of a raw-satin aesthetic inspired by early pioneers such as Larry Heard and Robert Hood, Tings continued to develop his sound with the acidic Club Mod-released follow up Tomita’s Base-ment. Tings then took a more Balearic-approach with his debut LP Roland Tings, which delved fur-ther into his rhythematic, synthesised rabbit hole, and received acclaim worldwide. As well as being the first 100% instrumental album to ever be awarded the coveted Feature Album on Australia’s triple j, the album received praise from international tastemakers Resident Advisor, Fader and Mixmag Germany, and earned an impressive 8/10 review from XLR8R.
Tings has toured extensively around Australia and Europe, including sold out album launches across the country, supporting Chet Faker on his sold-out 2015 national tour, and performances at Meredith Music Festival, Sydney Festival, MONA FOMA and Listen Out Festival. The remainder of 2015 will see Tings embark on his debut US tour in October 2015.
At the helm of a tight community of innovative Australian producers enjoying global recognition, Roland Tings’ custom texture continues to fold into a vibrant late-night fabric accessed around the world.