Almost a full three years have gone by since Rustie dropped his debut album Glass Swords via pioneering imprint Warp Records. Back then, when dubstep was on the brink of Massive-fuelled implosion and EDM was set to rise from its ashes like some monstrous bionic phoenix, the excitable synth-driven sounds offered by the Glaswegian provided a breath of fresh air for those suffocating under the senseless aggression of the aforementioned genres. Glass Swords quickly became one of the year’s most essential albums, and there were only two questions on everyone’s lips, namely, why does the (then) 27-year-old Rustie look about 13? And more importantly, what will he come up with next?
Well, finally the latter inquiry can be laid to rest. Rustie’s sophomore album has arrived and at first glance not a whole lot has changed since 2011; Green Language offers up a similar sonic palette to its predecessor – neon synths, digital soundscapes, etc – however, upon closer inspection the new LP is an entirely different beast. Sounding overall far less like the soundtrack to Mario Kart, Green Language further showcases Rustie’s diverse talents, whilst remaining cohesive and true to his established sound.
Across thirteen tracks Rustie presents both light and dark, serene and hectic, pop and experimental. Dusty, astral intro ‘Workship’ contrasts the dappled keys of closer ‘Green Language’, yet the two stand together as beat-less bookends to the tumultuous tracks within. Slow paced trap-like rhythms form the backbone of the album, creating a natural flow whilst offering the chance for variety via melodic elements; Rustie throws up walls of synthetic sound in ‘Raptor’, whilst taking on an almost prog rock tone in ‘Tempest’.
However, as interesting as these solo pieces are, they do require a rather liberal ear; it is within Rustie’s collaborative work that we find the both the highlights and most commercially viable areas of Green Language. Managing to make D Double E sound as unthreatening as Tinie Tempah is no easy feat, and, although perhaps in some eyes a misguided decision, will certainly help ‘Up Down’ earn plays in the average sticky-floored clubs of small town Britain. Meanwhile, ‘Attak’, the crowning glory of the LP, goes all out with a brutal beat and the sharp-tongued support of Detroit’s latest superstar Danny Brown.
Green Language feels like a natural progression for Rustie; his much-loved style is still in full effect, yet has developed and adapted to fit both his newfound fame and the current musical landscape. The album is more accessible, if somewhat less unique, and, although not perfect, it is most definitely Rustie.