Thursday, 27 October 2011

No-holds-barred maximalism: Rustie takes it to the next level on Glass Swords

First published on Dummy, here's the first part of a review of Glass Swords, the debut from Rustie that's attracted a not insignificant number of digital column inches this autumn. It's a pretty intense listen, and to a certain extent I found it hard to warm to despite being nothing but impressed and intrigued all the way through. I am certainly interested to see how people will feel about this record in a year's time - does it point the way to an ascendant taste for plasticky, crayon-bright sounds, or is this the high watermark of a trend that's reached saturation?

Glass Swords

Following on the heels of Satin Panthers, the recent EP from fellow Glaswegian producer and LuckyMe collaborator Hudson Mohawke, Rustie’s first album proper is a similarly explosive, immersive, star-spangled knockout of a record that can be filed as a companion piece to HudMo’s 2009 debut Butter. While they both share a taste for no-genres-barred maximalism, cascading ’80s synths, ass-wobbling bass and warped lady-vox, on Glass Swords Rustie sees HudMo’s game and raises him, shrugging off the call of the dancefloor in favour of a personal voyage to the weirdest outer limits of timbre, melody, rhythm, texture and memory. And to think they called him dubstep.

Glass Swords gleefully tests your mettle from start to finish. It bulges, it strains, it stretches back and slaps you around with a glossary of shameless retro-funk-pop elements – hollowed out drums, G-funk squelch, pulsing house beats, dirty slap bass and even that horrifying vocal “ooh” last heard all over James Horner’s score for Titanic. The biting clarity of each sound builds a world that seems purely, deliberately digital – a bravely un-trendy move in a climate of analogue reverence, yet rather than seeming cold and artificial, this cut-glass digitalism refracts into an infinity of animated virtual worlds, polygon landscapes and platform games in glorious 8-bit colour.

Continue reading on Dummy...

No comments: