On a rainy Wednesday night in Şişhane, Istanbul, I walked into Salon IKSV for the second time in my life. It was for the same reason as my first visit, in 2016: to see Com Truise perform live. When I entered the club 10 minutes before show time, the fans were trickling in slowly. At 9:30 on the dot, the man of the hour jumped on stage and received an energetic welcome from the crowd. When I looked back from where I was standing near the stage, I was surprised to see how much the room had filled up with eager faces. With all eyes on the man on the stage, everyone was ready for the journey.
The opening track, Video Arkade (from 2012’s In Decay), began in a frenzied, glitch-driven sequence that quickly gave way to the signature synths that make Com’s (Seth Haley) music so distinctive. When the beat dropped, I felt the crunchy bass lines rattling in my rib cage. I remembered the feeling well. The combination of filthy beats and funky chords, along with layered waves of synthesizers, made me feel like I was in a ship drifting into outer space, headed for a distant galaxy that undoubtedly lies 30 years in the past. As my head joined the steady rhythm, my body instinctively followed, and I looked around to see that I wasn’t the only one. The white and pink lasers overhead illuminated the fans, each lost in their own little realm of dance.
Between a healthy blend of old and new material, Com Truise laced the set with choppy interludes that sounded like machine-gun fire transmitted through a Nintendo console. By the time Brokendate (from 2011’s Galactic Melt) kicked in, it was a full-on dance party. I was floating in the ethereal vastness of the melody, all the while grounded by the heavy lows and steady onslaught of electronic kicks and snares. Halfway through Klimaxx (also from In Decay), the synthesizers became blended with robotic glitches, producing an effect like error messages an android might hear, only in a foreign and unknown language.
Seth Haley’s music (often categorized as “vaporwave”) often makes me feel like I’ve been warped to a planet in another dimension, where the scenery is a delicate balance of desolate and serene, and it is impossible to tell which of the two is more beautiful. For me, it was an oddly comforting space (and time) to return to. The set was solid, pumping out more classics like Colorvision and Data Kiss.
After a short recess and subsequent encore, Seth waved to the crowd and quietly left the stage as the house music came back up. The sonic expedition had reached its end, and I found myself wishing for more. Apart from being somewhat on the short end, the set delivered hard-hitting, high-quality tracks that pleased the fans. As I reluctantly left the venue and went back out into the rain, I found myself looking forward to the future, and upward towards the stars, thinking: When will I take this voyage again?
Photo by Onur Dogman and courtesy of IKSV.