Seth Haley — the synth master behind Com Truise — can definitely channel his inner Kraftwerk, and did so on Thursday night at a sold out Larimer Lounge. The only problem: He delivers the music with as much excitement as television static. Sadly, the smooth-but-enticing energy his tunes exhibit on record had trouble translating to a live experience, which made Haley look more like he was writing an essay much of the night, rather than playing music.
It was refreshing to hear the producer start off his 90-minute set with hits like “Cyanide Sisters” and “Sundriped” — both from his first EP — early in the set. But let’s face it — Haley’s music is innocuous enough to accompany travelogue videos. But in front of a live audience, the exact replication of the recorded material fell flat. His stage setup included a pentagonal light box, which seemed placed in the midst of the stacked synthesizers to liven up the set, but even that distraction got old pretty quickly.
Hidden behind the keyboards and samplers, Haley looked more like a chemist in a lab than a producer. His interaction with the audience was minimal — he may have said as many as 12 words all night. Even the audience slowed down to his pace as the set progressed. Toward the middle of the setlist, conversation came close to drowning out the music.
The last part of the set featured some of Haley’s newer material from the recent “Wave 1″ EP, which breathed a little life into the show. In the end, though, it just felt like the whole set would have been more impressive if it were actually played by four people — like the aforementioned Kraftwerk — rather than just one.
Lynnsey Dunson is a Denver-based photographer and a new contributor at Reverb.