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What Are Your Favorite Songs to Escape Into?

“How to stop time: kiss. How to travel in time: read. How to feel time: write. How to escape time: music.” – Matt Haig

At Soundfly, we’re constantly exploring ways to understand and apply the practical aspects of music, but we can’t deny that some elements of it can be wonderfully, simply inexplicable.

Music can itself say things that cannot be articulated through any other means or medium. It can conjure empathy between strangers. In a sense, it can even transport us from one reality to another.

For the most recent episode of our podcast, Themes and Variation, Carter Lee and I sat down with electronic musician, inventor of the genre “mid-fi synthwave slow-motion funk,” and newly minted Soundfly course instructor, Seth Haley (a.k.a. Com Truise) to chat about “Songs to Escape Into.”

The conversation covered so many things — vintage synths, player pianos, fugue-like dream pop, French poetry, shared phobias, velvet album covers, and more. Along the way, we discussed song selections by artists like Beach House, Grouper, and Claude Debussy.

Listen in to Episode 43 in its entirety right here:

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And just to remind you, if you’re a fan of Com Truise, or a producer looking to learn how he creates his signature retro, synthwave sound using hardware and software synths, drum machines and ’80s influenced production techniques, Soundfly’s new course Com Truise: Mid-Fi Synthwave Slow-Motion Funk is out now!

Episode 43 Highlights

1. Carter shares his love for the melody of “Space Song.”

Carter: “I love, love, love, the exact kind of very singable melody that the guitar enters with and the things about the guitar. It’s doubled at an octave. It might be played with a slide, I think. Plenty of chorus, super lush, plenty of verb. It’s just a fantastic melody that gets played throughout the track.”

2. Seth on how tracks like Grouper’s “Heavy Water/I’d Rather Be Sleeping” helped him rediscover an appreciation for guitar.

Seth: “I used to listen to rock music and, you know, that’s what I first got into. And then, once I found electronic music, I was like anti-guitar. I think this is a good representation of me kind of like opening back up to it and realizing the like sonic capabilities that I kind of just pushed away. You know what I mean? ‘Cause you can do so many crazy things with a guitar that I just like totally neglected to even care about.”

3. Mahea shares her amazement at discovering Clair de Lune was inspired by a poem.

Mahea: “The scene that the poem describes is, more or less, what you get from listening to the song without knowing the poem ever existed. This idea of like the human soul being this scene where people are dancing in masks and there’s a sadness, but it’s beautiful, and there’s love, but there’s sorrow. I feel all that and I think that’s amazing in an instrumental piece.”

Episode Playlist

With every new episode of Themes and Variation, we launch a new Spotify playlist that includes the songs mentioned in this episode and more. Here’s this episode’s Spotify playlist!

We’ll see you in a couple weeks with a new theme, new guests, and some new songs to break down. If you have any comments, questions, or theme suggestions, drops us a (bass) line at [email protected]!

Ready to Get Started?

Keep learning about production and beat making, composing and arranging, theory and harmony, mixing, songwriting, and so much more, with Soundfly’s in-depth online courses. Subscribe for access to all, including our exciting new synthwave and electronic music course, Com Truise: Mid-Fi Synthwave Slow-Motion Funk.

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Mahea Lee

Mahea Lee is a classically trained pianist and composer who has a degree from a jazz school and leads an electro-pop band. Her greatest musical passion is lyrical songwriting, but she's been known to write the occasional fugue. She graduated from Berklee College of Music, where she majored in Contemporary Writing and Production and minored in Music Theory. For more Mahea, check out Soundlfly's course, The Improviser's Toolkit.