Rustie had a lot to live up to on his sophomore album. 2011’s Glass Swords was a triumphant collection of absolutely massive-sounding electronic music. His blend of layer-heavy beats full of synthesizer made him one of the biggest names in the Glasgow electronic music scene and got him signed to Warp Records. His Essential Mix for BBC is perhaps the most necessary DJ mix to look into for anybody who wants to get into the trap music scene, featuring producers like Baauer, TNGHT, and S-Type well-before the genre began soundtracking commercials and “Harlem Shake” became a viral sensation. Everything Rustie did had a certain hectic aspect to it, and his energetic productions came like an electric jolt to the ears.
But as D Double E raps a third into the way into Green Language, “What goes up must come down.” While Rustie was one of the first producers that really started to define what trap music sounds like, Green Language sounds like it was created by a follower rather than a leader. Instead of taking what he crafted on Glass Swords and honing in on his strengths, Rustie decided to tone it down a little. The beats have a little more gloss over them than those of previous projects, which is disappointing because he’s at his best when his music sounds a little rough around the edges.
The most notable difference between Glass Swords and Green Language is the introduction of vocal guests. Five of the thirteen tracks on here feature contributions from other artists. The aforementioned, London-based grime artist D Double E raps on “Up Down,” but brings very little to the table aside from lyrical redundancy and a grating vocal performance. Rustie gives rap duo Gorgeous Children a cloudier beat on “He Hate Me,” though the collaboration yields minimal magic. One of the nicest beats of the record comes on the electro-soul track “Lost,” but an uninspired performance by singer/producer Redinho makes it sound like a bad Chromeo B-side. Rustie must’ve been underwhelmed by “Dream On” as well, because the lead singer on that track isn’t even given a feature credit. The only collaboration that works on here is the Danny Brown-led “Attak.” It’s not Brown’s best verse by a long shot, but his style and Rustie’s just blend so perfectly that it’s hard not to love.
Consistency is the real issue with Green Language. There are some absolutely monster tracks. “Workship” and “A Glimpse” are solid introductory songs and work well as lead-ins for the project’s absolutely roaring single, “Raptor.” “Velcro” features a great build-up and some of the nicest synth sounds heard all year. Choice cuts are sure to be party-starters on any EDM playlist, but Rustie’s less hectic productions, like “Lets Spiral,” “Tempest,” and “He Hate Me,” break up any momentum that he builds on this record. Trying to diversify his existing style is an admirable thing, but Rustie’s attempts at expanding his sound aren’t in his wheelhouse.
3 out of 5
You can buy Green Language on Amazon.