I listened to this three or four times today. It's Tycho all over again (on Ghostly too).
After the second or third track, I struggle to tell one piece from the next. Very disappointing album.
"Usurper" is the standout track off this album for me but it's track 9.
The thing about Com Truise and similarly distinct artists sound wise (Tycho, Lone, <insert artist you feel is overrated here> ) is that there is always at least one or two songs on each of their releases is objectively good and/or catchy AND largely owes that appeal to their timbre of sounds. For example I never gave Com Truise a chance for the longest time until I heard "Brokendate" on a college station and was absolutely obsessed with it. It's just a damn good song, and one where his choice of instrumentation really shines.
Likewise there are artists I really love that I must admit have a pretty locked down production method. Like classic 70s and 80s era dub music, I could listen to that shit all day forever and never get sick of it but it is extremely formulaic. Plenty of sample-based music (vaporwave is a good example or artists like VHS Head or 1991) or genre-defined music (black metal) falls in this camp too, even the best artists are actually quite creative and adventurous in their scope of work. To an outsider it all sounds the same.
The tricky thing, and what makes artists like Com Truise endless fodder for discussion, is that he's a talented producer who undeniably sticks with a comfort zone in terms of a genre and in this case probably even certain presets on specific instruments. The inverse of this is artists, especially pop and rock artists, who use all sorts of instruments or genres as a palette, but stick with the same formula composition wise: same keys, same song structures, etc. This goes for critically acclaimed folks too: you can tell a David Byrne, Bjork, or Tom Yorke song pretty easily.
The other end of the spectrum is too much variation: some artists never really break into bigger audiences or appreciation because their music is so diverse. It's also why so many decide to spawn multiple monikers or projects. Think of all the aliases of Luke Vibert and Mark Pritchard. The balance seems to be to hone into a style that is unique but not limiting: a lot of the artists we all love - Aphex Twin, Autechre, Squarepusher, and even BoC: they've all progressed and expanded their musical visions while still being very distinct and recognizable. It's a hard thing to do, sometimes even a matter of chance.
I saw a comment here once, I think john e. (awepittance, flourescent grey, etc) that was pretty insightful - he called musicians like Tycho "artisan" in scope - they master a method, sound, aesthetic, excel at it, but don't break any new ground nor really progress. A counterpoint would be the bedroom producers who stumble into new territory (Burial for example, DJ Screw) by completely throwing out any sense of restraint or interest in 'proper' production. I often shy away from criticizing music I don't like and/or find questionable in terms of artistic merit because well, I'm not musically apt at all. I usually only get fired up not if something mediocre is liked by many, but if it's critically acclaimed with little merit (and that's not really the artists fault most of the time). This album seems to fall right into that category. Fans will love it, skeptics will dismiss it, a lot like myself we'll think something like "it's 'aight / not bad at all"
Some good points. As you say, 'Usurper' arrives eventually but by that point it's far too late. I dunno about artists like Tycho and Com Truise ( Lone, I find to be a bit more varied) - they just crank out the same thing from album to album.
Part of the problem, I believe, is that they spend so much in their individual creative worlds that when they finally emerge into the light with their new work, they've lost any objective view of it.
There's a reason that best-selling authors have editors. They look at it with a cool and critical eye and make cuts where necessary.
I'm sure Com Truise is a really talented individual but his stuff is totally devoid of variety because he is both artist and critic.