Review Summary: The musical equivalent of a firework - flashy, bright, and full of joy, but insubstantial and ephemeral.
The sense of wonder permeating Rustie’s Green Language
can be nothing short of astounding at times, often bounding far beyond even the Day-Glo maximalism of the producer’s previous releases. The album kicks off in a similar manner to Russell Whyte’s previous LP, Glass Swords
, by painting a beatless canvas with wide brushstrokes of gaudy, glittering chords, but the differences between “Workship” and “Glass Swords” set the course for the glaring differences between the two works. Whereas “Glass Swords” kept a choke collar on Whyte’s sprawling sonic landscapes by means of tight, brutal distortion, “Workship” destroys the metaphorical collar with vast swathes of crystalline treble. Similarly, the lead track on Green Language
doesn’t have the strangely spartan attention span of “Glass Swords” - its glow fades out in only two minutes, immediately clearing the stage for other wild-eyed tracks which punch through the listener’s ears relentlessly.
Part of what made Glass Swords
such an engaging listen is that Rustie didn’t let his music wander too far - the unstable, tottering chords in the beginning of “Surph” found a counterbalance in the song’s steady bassline, for example. Counterintuitively, what makes the beginning of Green Language
an almost transcendental experience is precisely the opposite: the dizzying euphoria it evokes. The blinding sunlight of the first two tracks sets the stage perfectly for the colossal “Raptor,” its trill-as-fu
ck synth slides and hi-hat barrages igniting the energy built by the two-song buildup with a bang almost as giant as the song’s massive trash-can toms. The squeaky-clean percussive melody of following track “Paradise Stone” serves as an expertly-placed trough following the huge crest of “Raptor,” rekindling the album’s intrepid, almost breathless direction and gently rolling it on its way towards its conclusion.
Unfortunately, just as D Double E so poignantly points out in “Up Down,” the track which kicks off Green Language
’s mid-album slide, “what goes up must come down.” It’s clear Whyte knew the impossibility of sustaining the joy of the first few tracks for long - why else would the whole LP last only 37 minutes? - but it’s shocking how quickly Green Language
devolves into a mindless rehash of other (and better) syrupy, sluggish, and unoriginal trap. Barring the unsurprisingly excellent “Attak,” which succeeds because of Danny Brown’s live-wire flow energizing the one track in the middle of the album that actually sounds like Rustie, the album’s center is chock-full of clunky 808 arpeggios, dull features, and boring interpretations of fun-house hip-hop. Nowhere is this more apparent than the sadly terrible “Lost,” one of Rustie’s most torpid productions ever, although the painfully paint-by-numbers “He Hate Me” and “Dream On” are also excellent examples of where, exactly, Rustie’s glamour and sparkle fizzled out.
The inconsistencies within Green Language
, unfortunately, undermine the potential beauty of the album’s closing few minutes. The album coasts serenely to an almost immensely satisfying conclusion, the proverbial sun rising after a long night losing it to off-the-wall trap. However, instead of capping off what should have been a perfectly paced dissolution of wonder into the bloodstream, the final two tracks only provide a merciful end to a listen gone somewhat sour. Obviously, it’s a Herculean accomplishment to create a piece of music which can carefully meter out euphoria, walking the fine line between too much too fast and too great an increase near the end. However, given how well-ruled Glass Swords
was and how joyful Green Language
could have been, it’s disappointing to see Rustie fail after such an impressive beginning.