National Album Review: Glass Swords by Rustie

Posted on October 22, 2012 in Album Reviews, Arts & Culture
By Samuel Haiden

Sam Hill | The Free Press

Unless you’ve completely closed your mind to the dubby whomps of dubstep, it’s truly hard not to love those grimy British beats like this trap-influenced album, Glass Swords.

These beats borne out of Glasgow, U.K. are too precise: a cutting glass prism of musical and synaesthetic sensation. The producer, Russell Whyte, known as Rustie, has produced one fine album with Warp Records.

On this album, Rustie departs from the more lo-fi hip-hop beats of his previous albums, like Jagz the Smack. Attempting to represent his subgenre, known as Aquacrunk or Wonky, his most recent creation achieves a sound that could be defined primarily as trap, which is the hip-hop flavor of electronic dance music, and secondarily as dubstep or pop. He has truly polished his sound and has created innovative and dynamic synth sounds. His novel usage of rhythm changes and time signatures gives him a unique sound.

To hear some of what electronic music fans are constantly calling “real trap,” please refer to City Star, the fifth song on the album. Allow the deep, clean and multilayered bass beats to carry your mind into a world of rhythm. If you listen closely you’ll hear that the samples are from brass instruments, all wonked up, chopped and screwed by a master of dub.

Rustie has something for all, on an unstoppable campaign for danceable beats. Check out “Hover Traps” and you’ll hear a funky bass guitar line that leads into a nice, comfy, four-on-the-floor disco beat. After he lets us get comfortable, his synths start dissecting the beat, and rest on your eardrums like golden clouds. Drops, breakdowns, and every variety of skilled dance-beat-producer techniques keep us moving, on our feet.

Not dancing yet? Initiate track seven on the album, “Ultra Thizz.” It comes on slow, nice and easy. It gives you a twinkling voice sample that progressively gets louder and becomes more complex before Rustie quite literally drops you on your head. It has become a cliche to compare every music DJ to Skrillex, but regardless, the way that Rustie initiates his synth sequences is very similar. If this doesn’t get your chest resonating enough to make your whole body vibrate, may the gods of music help your soul.