Rustie - Glass Swords

by Rich Morris Rating:8 Release Date:2011-10-10

Floating in the vague diaspora of sounds some people are calling (and others desperately trying to avoid calling) post-dubstep, Russell 'Rustie' Whyte here stakes as his inalienable right the urge to shove as many conflicting influences as he can possibly conceive into one bewildering glitter-bang of noise. Good thing too, what with whingy glumbos like James Blake clogging up broadsheet supplements and 'highbrow' music prize nomination lists, doing their best to turn dubstep into an Adele-style blub-athon.

 

Glass Swords isn't dubstep, or post-dubstep or whatever. It is to post-dubstep what Throbbing Gristle were to post-punk. There's just too much going on here: IDM, drum & bass, electro, 'brostep', 80s synth, UK garage, classic Detroit techno, squeaky vocals straight from happy hardcore.

 

Out of all this, he mostly creates tunes which sound like a persuasive argument to party like a deranged motherfucker. Like all the best laptop-abusers, Rustie must have a wicked sense of humour, cackling like the Wizard of Oz hiding behind his curtain while he messes royally with the poor schmuck from Kansas.

 

'Hover Trapes' mixes a none-more-wanky jazz-pop bassline, Balearic synth and pure Rephlex-style craziness to create something dizzying and magical. Second track 'Flash Back' starts with what sounds like a blocky, ultra-synthetic bassline from a mid-80s slice of Hi-NRG by Stock Aitken and Waterman. Album highlight 'All Night' sounds like an 80s revival on Mars, a warp speed mash-up of Prince, Daft Punk, Aphex Twin and whatever Dale Winton listens to while he's slapping on the orange warpaint.

 

'Cry Flames' is hair metal played by tiny pixel men trapped in an early Super Mario Bros game. 'Death Mountain' is - yes - a trance banger, except for people who want to smash up your house and collapse into a k-hole on your sofa rather than do shots in shit clubs in Malaga.

 

On and on it goes, continually setting up and knocking down your expectations, then humping said expectations into nothing more than day-glo carpet burns. In fact, Glass Swords is a strangely sexy album, as shown by 'Surph', the smooth, seductive work of an artist who knows he could toss out a million dollar hit anytime. This album could be a great love-making soundtrack, as long as you only ever get jiggy at 5am while you and your partner(s) are gurning and teeth-grinding like electro-shock patients.

 

Like fellow Numbers collective member Hudson Mohawke, Rustie is engaged in creating some mutant strain of prog-dance, chucking in all manner of tempo changes, stylistic tricks and the odd widdly guitar solo, while somehow managing to make the whole feel punk as hell. Listening to Glass Swords is like repeatedly having your ears ram-raided by the id of the sort of annoying kid who thinks a bus journey is the perfect public arena for a smorgasbord of 30-second snippets from his favourite shite rave tunes. Does that sound like a good thing? Somehow it is. Get this album.

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