Review Summary: A jubilant and victorious statement by Rustie, and also unashamedly amazing
If Rustie’s work ethic is to literally throw everything and the kitchen sink into his music, Glass Swords
is a pretty fair assertion of this commitment. He’s never really released anything that could be accurately summed up as predictable or restrained; in fact it would appear that subtlety is a color that just doesn’t suit this Glaswegian cosmonaut. Rustie’s musical tableau is a jumble of odd shapes and bent angles, lines that just disappear into the ether, and paradoxes that just cease to be viable. It’s a chaotic flurry of noise and bombast, where everything seems preoccupied by the bustling landscape around them. To assume that Rustie’s schizophrenic pandemonium would be toned down in favor of something a little more welcoming for his first main outing would be to assume wrong; in fact, Glass Swords
is Rustie pushing himself past the point of no return. And it’s frighteningly good.
Much like fellow local Hudson Mohawke, Rustie’s music is one that defies true definition, because of his unconventional approach and his vast source of influences that keep a common clarification from happening. Tangled hip hop beats are suffocated under a sea of rave whistles, bouncy funk arrangements, videogame nostalgia and dirty synth arrangements (and that’s just the tip of the iceberg). You could tie him into the LA beat scene, and more specifically an artist like Samiyam, but despite both using broken hip hop beats as a platform, Rustie’s work is defined by a much more rave heavy electronic leaning. There’s more callous swagger here as well, the basslines are more skuzzy and abrasive, yet hindered by Rustie’s evident hyperactive disposition.
is a demanding, and potentially, overwhelming listen. Yes, in the sense that at times there’s simply so much going on that attempting to process it all at once becomes a daunting proposition, but that’s also the key element that makes this album such a breathless success. It’s not a case of Rustie trying to overcompensate or fill in the gaps, but more that he’s just an artist in love with the idea of pairing the strange and seemingly unrelated together. He seems to get a kick out of what two random components can create when fused together; like a kid at Christmas time, you can almost feel the giddy excitement of Rustie as he realizes the endless possibilities that lay in front of him.
This idea of old meets new then becomes not only the selling point for Glass Swords
but for the artist himself. The way that he can twist hyper-intensive bass music over the acid-fuelled squeals and gallops of rave music and turn it into a combusting slab of molten synth and subsonic rumble, how he recycles the mundane into the monumental. ‘City Star’ becomes a prime example of this notion; a diabolical hip hop instrumental pummeled relentlessly by the disorientating yet effortlessly cheeseball rave clatter. And it’s in that clever application of those tacky breakbeat melodies where Rustie finds his hooks, his subtle moments of rest; where, placed in the hands of others they would only end up as disastrous attempts at conformity, here they’re lucratively placed with a decidedly tongue-in-cheek theatricality. So when those creeping yet insistent moments of ridiculousness pop up in ‘Hover Traps’ and ‘After Light’ you take them with a grain of salt because they’re primly applied over the deepest of low-end swagger. The crux here is that for all that’s going on, Rustie makes all of it work, without the end result coming off as broken or disjointed. Despite its bipolar tendencies Glass Swords
is a work of complex cohesion, a melting pot of battered funk and hip hop tightrope walking hand in hand with the bruised remains of the rave scene. It’s a jubilant and victorious statement by Rustie, and unashamedly amazing.