The most maximalistic DJ/producer to emerge from a burgeoning Scottish dance scene responsible for the likes of Calvin Harris, Hudson Mohawke and Jackmaster, Russell White (aka, Rustie) appears determined to hold onto his hyperactive crown, judging by second studio effort Green Language.
Packed with 8-bit blips and bleeps, chunky arpeggiated synths and wonky beats, the follow-up to 2011’s Glass Swords is almost as dizzying, breathless and chaotic as its predecessor, with only a handful of widescreen instrumentals (“Workship,” “Tempest,” “Green Language”) and the unexpectedly conventional smooth R&B of “Dream On” eschewing the less-is-more approach.
Rustie’s resolutely 21st Century sound can often be thrilling, as on “Attak,” which as its name suggests, is a hard-hitting blend of whooshing sirens, trap beats and machine gun rhymes courtesy of Detroit MC Danny Brown. “Up Down,” a similarly aggressive collaboration with East London grime crew D Double E, and “He Hate Me,” an expletive-laden hook-up with oddball rap duo Gorgeous Children, also leave you wishing that the 31-year-old would commit himself entirely to his obvious love of hip-hop.
Of course, no-one can accuse Rustie of a shortage of ideas, with the Nintendo soundtrack-meets-indie-rock-meets-medieval music of “Velcro” packing more twists and turns into its three minutes than most of the EDM crowd manage on an entire album. But it’s inevitable therefore that Green Language suffers from a lack of cohesion, and there are times where the record sounds more like an ill-thought out compilation than a structured studio album. such as on the Daft Punk-inspired robotic funk of “Lost” and the M83-esque cinematics of “Let’s Spiral.”
Of course, Rustie’s excitable nature is one of his unique selling points, and fans of his day-glo debut will find much to enjoy here. But with Harris taking over the world and Mohawke guesting on Kanye West’s record, Green Language isn’t quite the giant leap forward Rustie needed to join his fellow countrymen in the big leagues.