Glass Swords, the debut album from Rustie, has dealt with the issue of extremely high expectations more than most dance records in recent memory. Previous releases from the producer showed his potential, and successful releases from fellow Glaswegian beat junkie Hudson Mohawke earlier this year set the stage for the highly anticipated full length album. To say that Rustie has met these expectations is a huge understatement. He’s not only met them, but he’s surpassed them with a 50-minute package of utter euphoria.
Glass Swords reshapes the sounds of prog-rock and video game samples into a genre-defying listen that refuses to sit still. The borderline cliché dance floor climaxes and bright sampling would threaten to derail any other album, but Rustie makes up for it in complete commitment, holding nothing in reserves. Few producers would dare to use any of the sounds here (see Seinfeld sounding guitar of “Hover Traps”), but Rustie pulls it off expertly.
A full album of tracks this high energy and diverse should not mesh as well as it does, but not once does it seem overbearing or tired. From the vintage guitar funk of “Flash Back” to the rolling hip-hop snares in “City Star”, Glass Swords manages to pack it all in. 13 tracks of non-stop hi-fi dance music this fresh, focused and energized invokes the qualities of great Daft Punk releases, only from a modern Rustie context.
It would be a shame not to mention the album’s miraculous centerpiece. Dubstep drops have soared to some extravagant and obnoxious levels in recent years, but no single moment matches the sheer size and energy of “Ultra Thizz”. It’s the most carefree single you will hear all year, on the most celebratory dance record in recent memory. So with a debut this profound, where does Rustie go from here? If Glass Swords teaches us one thing, it’s probably not to spend time worrying about that. Dance to it. Nod to it. Dance to it some more. Whatever you do, savor what Rustie’s unrestrained imagination in electronic music can create.