Release Date: Aug 26, 2014
Record label: Warp
Genre(s): Electronic, Club/Dance, Left-Field Hip-Hop
Rustie's hyper-enjoyable second album derives its title and some odd peacefulness from an unlikely source: birdsong, aka the green language, which was to medieval mystics the perfect mode of expression. Rustie is making that same claim for his music, which, if toned-down and thoughtful by his standards, is forcefully ebullient and direct by anyone else's. Synthetic prog rock, vocoders, hard house and video-game sounds strike an optimistic tone, undercut by darker suggestions from the guest rappers – grime hero D Double E, Detroit's unique Danny Brown and the shady duo Gorgeous Children.
One reasonable reaction to Glass Swords, Rustie's debut album, was that the young Scottish producer could have dialed it down a bit. Obstinately complex and lurid, none of its tracks seemed to be made with any desire to be taken as tasteful. For his second album, also released on Warp, Rustie indeed slows it down a bit and peels away some layers, but he does so without making any concessions to politeness.
Glaswegian producer Russell "Rustie" Whyte has firmly staked his place in the maximalist electronic music world. His debut Glass Swords nabbed the Guardian's first album award in 2012, and on Green Language he careens through a collection of Nintendo-sound bloops and screeches that cascade over bass-heavy hooks. the single Attak, featuring nasal-voiced rapper Danny Brown, whoops like a siren before dropping into a skull-shaking dancefloor filler with elements of trap and bounce.
Russell Whyte's debut album Glass Swords was all about maximalism—big melodies, high production values and sprawling, prog rock-inspired compositions. But then came "Slasherr," which compressed that symphonic scale into a few well-timed drops. It took a page out of the mainstream EDM playbook, and it rocks dance floors of all kinds even two years after its release.
After a four-year break—in which Russell (aka Rustie) Whyte's star has ascended into the stratosphere—the Glaswegian producer/DJ returns with a sophomore effort which more than equips itself as a follow-up to his stellar debut. If Green Language was nothing more than an instrumental album it would be one of the best releases of the year. The organic quality of his beats hint at a futuristic reinterpretation of early '90s ambient techno; "Paradise Stone" and "Green Language" evoke the shimmer of soft chimes and flowing water.
Just four minutes into Rustie's Green Language, some 20 seconds before the close of the second song, there's a brief fade-out that's more like a fake-out. By this point, the album has blown through more than ten percent of its running time with what is essentially a pair of introductions. The opening "Workship" offers two minutes of gleaming synthesizers streaming chemtrails of white noise; vast and cinematic, it suggests a three-way fusion of John Williams, M83, and Oneohtrix Point Never.
Glass Swords, Rustie’s debut album, was released when the terms “trap” and “EDM” had the respective contexts of both gangsta-oriented Southern rap and, like, David Guetta, and thereby escaped the economy of festival market-shares through its unique sound and vision. Obviously, EDM did not invent the build/release mechanic, but it did take it to a supremely marketable obscenity. Now, there is no escaping its thematic palate: that is to say, “Where’s the drop?” While Rustie is engaging in this narrative of desire and consummation, he’s doing it on distinct terms.
Perhaps more than any other producer, even Warp labelmate Hudson Mohawke, Rustie encapsulated the shift in electronic music in the early 2010s, when minimal production gave way to day-glo maximalism. Over a trio of lofty peaks – 2011 debut album ‘Glass Swords’, a towering Radio 1 Essential Mix and 2013 single ‘Slasherr’ – the producer cranked up his overexcitable bombast in pursuit of the ever-more-sickening drop, with epic musical builds giving way to gut-churning rhythms. Hopes are high, then, for ‘Green Language’, an album he claims is influenced by nature, birds and sunrise, which on the face of it sounds rather fanciful.
Glaswegian producer Russell Whyte’s 2011 album Glass Swords is one of the most incendiary and thrilling debut releases of recent memory. It’s a record of staggering confidence that catapulted Rustie into the public consciousness as one of electronic music’s brightest talents. Of course, following such a striking debut is often a much harder task.
The title of Scottish DJ/producer Rustie's second full-length Green Language refers, according to a release, to "a language that's non-dualistic, that speaks to you directly to your emotions without the mind interfering with the message. " It's jarring to hear Rustie speak about emotion; his 2011 debut, the brash, colourful Glass Swords, was more expressive — of triumph, exuberance, ecstasy — than it was emotive. There is a distinct sense of melancholy that lingers on Green Language, but it feels more languorous than actually emotive.
The States really need to step up its game. We’re being crushed by our friends across the pond in electronic music. The last few years have seen a flurry of UK-based producers that have dominated the genre. There’s the dance-pop bliss of Disclosure, the seductive murmurs of SBTRKT, the multi-colored explorations of Lone, and then there’s Rustie: the maximalist.
Following ‘Glass Swords’, Glasgow producer Russell White’s scintillating debut, you’d be forgiven for instigating a demand for, or at least the expectation of, an invigorating and ambitious follow-up; a second record could only ever have been a bold step forward with the full-force of this head-on dance music we’ve now come to expect, right? It’s frustrating then, that White chooses to hone in on the jarring opening of ‘Workship’ followed by ‘A Glimpse’, which seems to offers nothing but. Even with great, unrelenting early single ‘Raptor’, the album only really kicks it up a gear with ‘Up Down’, featuring perennial grime icon D Double E. Despite this inspired collaboration, the focus doesn’t ever truly fall onto the MC’s words, a stream of almost nonsensical, looped bars and infamous vocal tics, a testament to White’s work that ebbs and flows, ever-complimenting his guest, but leaving the listener in no doubt that he is in control.
The second album from Scottish EDM expressionist Rustie explodes outward from the palette that made him a critical darling: the cheap sound of Eighties synthesizers, the hyperkinetic feel of Nineties IDM and the rhythms of contemporary bass music. Instead, Green Language packs in Godzilla-size bass drops, a Danny Brown cameo, post-trap weirdness and a whole lot of shoegaze-y pink noise. Sometimes Rustie's at the rave ("Raptor"), other times he's chilling on the porch ("Green Language") and still others he's rocking out in the garage ("A Glimpse" ends with a 16-second dream-punk hit) – but he's never easy to pin down.
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.
Despite the slow-rolling bass lines and Danny Brown cred, Green Language is not a clever ode to the sticky icky. Also known as the “Language of the Birds”, the “Green Language” is a piece of centuries old folklore about mythical/divine avian-man communications. Rustie’s fascination with the belief is much deeper than the symbolic intertwined flamingos on the cover of his sophomore LP and its intermittent squawk samples; for the Scottish-bred producer, music is “a direct language that doesn’t let you get muddled up.” The statement seems to arrive in jest coming from the prolific tastemaker, whose debut, Glass Swords, was praised for its dizzying layers of distorted vocals, wobbly bass lines, and contorted, uplifting melodies.
Danny Brown had an image problem. Until Old, he was a molly popping, kush smoking, fellatio lovin’ machine. The rapper of choice if you wanted whip-smart rhymes and a hella good time. Then he decided that was all very well, but he’d rather be taken seriously. So 10 songs of his third album were ….
Let’s talk about Rustie’s corker of a debut album Glass Swords before we get stuck into why Green Language, his eagerly-anticipated follow-up, misses the mark so much – and not just because re-listening to it after this disappointment makes it sound hideously good. Against the backdrop of the rise and rise of EDM, here was a record that revelled in the indulgences of the bass drop while refusing to use its physicality as an excuse to dumb itself down. Nope, in all its exuberance Glass Swords basically sounded like it was shitting rainbows in every direction at once, as melody piled into melody, bass rushes colliding with one another, constantly invigorating and inventive.
Buried among the vague superlatives on the press release for Green Language, Glaswegian producer Rustie’s second full-length album for Warp Records, is a quote from the man himself in reference to the album’s title: “It’s a language that’s non-dualistic, that speaks directly to your emotions without the mind interfering with the message,” he said. “Music is like that to me. ” Couldn’t agree more, Rustie.
"Hyper", "maximalist", "Day-Glo": the same words have perpetually popped up to describe the music of Glasgow's Russell Whyte, aka Rustie, ever since the release of 2011's Glass Swords. Alongside 2013's Triadzz / Slasherr EP on Numbers these two releases did much to spin this narrative around Rustie as a producer relied upon solely for unashamed bangers that induced euphoric hands-in-the-air and flailing limbs on the dancefloor. However, with that territory comes the potential accusation that Whyte is just a one trick pony, sitting on the outskirts of the wholly unironic EDM scene.
The difficult second album: a cliche as old as pop music, and one of which Russell Whyte must be acutely aware. His debut, 2011’s Glass Swords, has frequently been hailed as a defining statement of its time. For Simon Reynolds it was emblematic of the “digital maximalism” being explored by a new generation of musicians. Writing in The Wire, Mark Fisher praised it for “eroticising” the state of “data overload” afflicting our social-networked society.
opinion byAUSTIN REED On Friday, June 20th, Scottish-born producer/virtuoso Rustie dropped “Raptor,” a sonic weapon of nuclear metrics that officially heralded the launch of his sophomore LP Green Language. It was decidedly the best moment of that particular Friday. Dropping “Raptor” first was a very well orchestrated move. Whether he knew it or not at the time, Rustie did a couple things, here: For starters, he reminded us of the incontrovertible damage his tracks can inflict.