When Glaswegian producer Rustie released his second album Green Language in 2014, it was met by plausible commercial attention. For fans of his critically devoured debut Glass Swords however, a collection of vocal guests made for a somewhat troubled release, with the producer himself proclaiming it was too “A&R-ed”.
If you are such a fan, you will be pleased to realise that he has taken a u-turn from collaborations with the likes of Danny Brown and Redinho and instead reaches for an uninterrupted 46 minutes of zany, outlandish happy hardcore.
Beginning with ‘Coral Elixrr’, the album sets off with elongated guitar solos and foreboding thunder which instantly implies its immensity. The track is then thrown into a eurodance-esque explosion of euphoria and unwavering ambition that defines the album. Rustie does an exceptional job of planting emotion into the bedrock of ceaseless, pounding synth layers (which in itself is no easy task). Nearly every song brings a rush which seems refreshingly free spirited.
The joyous hyperactivity of this record spans from the arcade and video game culture that Rustie continues to draw from and with its polished sheen it combines into a more immersive take on chiptune. Hand someone this album five years ago and it would have been a stunning revelation of what electronica is capable of. Now though, with the emergence of PC music and vaporwave, its peculiarity isn’t nearly as striking and (though it might be hard to believe) the album can fall flat despite its intensity.
The beauty of this record is also its curse; you never quite know where the track is heading or where it will end up. While this makes for a hectic and exhilarating journey, it’s easy to end up getting lost along the way. There are heavy swells of anticipation that go unanswered in favour of meticulous but showy drum sequences (namely ‘Emerald Tabletz’ and ‘New Realm’) and the turbo trance sounds can be quick to overwhelm. The music constantly jumps out and challenges you, which is fine if you’re the kind of person who scours songs for artistic merit instead of actually enjoying them. There’s no real resounding groove to latch onto and (not counting the annoyingly repetitive samples, such as that of ‘Peace Upzzz’) nothing really lingers long enough to sink your teeth into. If this is the future of EDM, we should remain cautious.
Jordan Low @