Rustie - 'EVENIFYOUDONTBELIEVE'
Glasgow producer revisits his hyperactive past on a thrillingly weird third album
Rustie’s last album, 2014’s ‘Green Language’, was a curious but disappointing beast. While Glasgow producer Russell Whyte’s excellent 2011 debut ‘Glass Swords’ had shown that he could distill sources as disparate as trance, dubstep and R&B into one distinctively hyperactive whole, ‘Green Language’ was uneven and too respectful of genres Rustie had previously bent to his will.
Rustie himself realised this, claiming on Twitter that ‘Green Language’ had been “too A&Red”, as outside forces pulled him in different musical directions. The surprise-release ‘EVENIFUDONTBELIEVE’ is an emphatic reaction. It contains none of the guest vocalists (Danny Brown, D Double E) that marked ‘Green Language’, with Rustie providing production, songwriting, vocals, guitar and art direction. The result is a record so intensely Rustie-centric it feels like being locked in a room with him.
Opening with soothing synth chords, songs such as ‘First Mythz’ or ‘Emerald Tabletz’ share the ambient feel of ‘Green Language’’s ‘Let’s Spiral’. But they’re soon overrun by trance riffs and nuclear-heavy drum patterns that forge the kind of heart-stoppingly exciting maximalist electronica that first made Rustie’s name. ’What U Mean’ – Daft Punk house submerged in psychedelic R&B at happy hardcore tempo – and ‘Big Catzz’ – jazzy noodles that morph into synth chords so thick you could style your hair with them – meanwhile, are the fluorescent bangers that ‘Green Language’ largely lacked. These are massively dense, melodically strong electronic hits, both incredibly complicated in production detail and dumb as a bag of spanners in their primitive energy.
‘EVENIFUDONTBELIEVE’ is Rustie in excelsis, a perfect example of his blink-and-you’ll-miss-it, magpie’s eye gift for reassembling modern dance music styles in his own image. This proves both its charm and its Achille’s heel. The record may be more enjoyable than its predecessor, but it sometimes feels like the Rustie of 2011 has just been wheeled back out for another spin. Perhaps ‘EVENIFUDONTBELIEVE’ works best as a palate cleanser, a reminder of what Rustie can do when left to his own twisted devices. It is thrilling, weird, danceable, frequently inspired and Day-Glo to a fault. That makes for a hugely enjoyable mix, but what, you wonder, can Rustie do next?
Record label: Warp