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Galactic Melt by Com Truise

2012.09.12

Does anyone remember those The Mind’s Eye videos from the early 1990s?  Back then, computer animation was still something of a novelty.  This was before Toy Story and Shrek started slowly strangling traditional 2D animation, which was soon cast aside by big studios like Disney and the nascent Dreamworks.  We had seen it used quite effectively in movies like The Lawnmower Man and Terminator 2: Judgement Day, but it wasn’t until Jurassic Park, I think, that Hollywood really began to develop the technology, and computer animation became a primary force in storytelling, instead of merely a supporting character.

Okay, this isn’t a post on the development of computer animation.  I always get distracted by tangents!  Anyway, I was talking about The Mind’s Eye.  It was a series of VHS tapes begun in 1990 that featured different clips of computer animation, of often wildly inconsistent levels of sophistication, assembled music-video style over an electronic score.  They were very well done, mining material from motion pictures, video games, short films, and industrial clips used to highlight the skills of various animation houses.  And the music for them wasn’t some cheesy post-80s electro hogwash either; Jan Hammer, of “Crockett’s Theme,” did one of the videos, and I remember much loving the video scored by Thomas Dolby.

The reason I’m bringing up The Mind’s Eye is because I recently came across an album that sounds exactly like one of those soundtracks.  Galactic Melt by Com Truise was released just last year on Ghostly Records, but if you didn’t know any better, you could swear it was released circa 1991, after artists stopped making electronica just for the dancefloor and branched into more chill, complex territory best appreciated with good headphones.  It’s uncanny really—the second it began playing, images from The Mind’s Eye series began flowing through my brain.  I had to check to make sure Seth Haley, the man behind Com Truise, hadn’t ever actually contributed to the series.

It’s immediate, with the opening electronic, synthesized swirls of “Terminal,” which plays like a thesis statement introducing the remaining nine tracks.  The swirls bleed into the mid-tempo pulse of “VHS Sex,” whose title alone should give you some idea of what Com Truise is going for.  (“Cathode Girls” is another great title.)

This kind of nostalgia drips from every single track on Galactic Melt.  It’s really no surprise that these random passages from The Mind’s Eye flowed through my… er, mind’s eye as the music started.  Mr Haley himself said he

envisioned Galactic Melt as a “sort of film score…from the mind,” chronicling the lift [sic] and death of Com Truise, the world’s first synthetic/robotic astronaut, from his creation and life on earth to his subsequent mission to a newly discovered galaxy called “Wave 1.” Eventually, Truise becomes one with his newfound cosmos, like Pinocchio becoming a real boy, but in the nether regions of imaginary space.

—Ghostly International

If that doesn’t sound the least bit intriguing to you, then you had best stay away from the album.  It may be a very, very specialized genre—that post-80s window before heavy electronica went mainstream, aided by albums like Post by Björk and Madonna’s Ray of Light.  It’s the sound of the past’s version of the future, if that makes any sense at all.

Look, Galactic Melt isn’t going to win any awards and probably won’t go to the top of anybody’s “best of” list for anything, but it is a low-key, easily missed gem I just wanted to share.  You can get it from Ghostly, Amazon, and iTunes.

Videos in The Mind’s Eye series are, sadly, out of print.  But it’s kind of better that they’re an artifact of their time, isn’t it?

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