A colourful-of-cacophony, career-to-date defining EP from Glasgow’s wonky pioneer.
Mike Diver 2010-10-04
A prime protagonist within Glasgow’s Lucky Me clubland community, and rising solo force in his own right, Rustie reveals more of himself than ever before on this five-track EP, his debut release for Warp Records outside of compilation appearances. But while Sunburst presents a clearer picture of this young talent, its brevity is both blessing and curse. As a rounded primer it’s brilliant; but it leaves the listener immediately hungry for more.
Having helped to establish something of a sub-genre, whatever it’s coolest to call it this week – aquacrunk was mooted but recently ridiculed through Twitter by a stateside fraternity led by Flying Lotus; wonky has stuck to an extent but feels a little too sell-short for music of far greater complexity than such a catchall conveys – Rustie’s modus operandi is a fairly unique one. Fellow Lucky Me player Hudson Mohawke has enjoyed a modicum of success with his take on the style, effectively a mutation of dubstep with emphasis on fractured party beats over those painting a dark picture of late-night paranoia, but his long-player of last year, Butter, was perhaps a little too scattershot for its own good. By focusing exclusively on traits that have benefitted him thus far, and exclusively to instrumentals, Rustie has here delivered a defining work.
But that’s a statement complete with a caveat: what comes next must take the formula taken international on the back of 2008’s ferocious Zig Zag further still. Sunburst’s five selections mine similar inspirational veins for their frenzied synth lines and bubbling beats – it’s easy to hear how critics quickly arrived at the aquacrunk term, as much of this music sloshes and splashes as if it’s risen from the depths of a sparkling tropical sea; El Guincho via Bearsden rather than Barça – and while that works fine for an EP run-time, across an album it’d drag. Ten or so variations on the skittering, squelching Dragonfly would leave the listener utterly dizzied, likewise a succession of numbers as colourfully cacophonous as Hyperthrust; but with Sunburst clocking in at under 15 minutes, there’s no fear of fatigue here.
HudMo didn’t quite rein in his enthusiasm for compositional exploration on Butter, and produced what was an admirably varied but ultimately exhausting debut. Should Rustie follow in his footsteps, succeeding a fine EP (HudMo’s album-preceding six-tracker Polyfolk Dance is great, worth picking up for its standout cut Overnight), he’ll need to maintain the singular attitude and accomplished consistency that characterises this release. Should he, he’ll have produced one of the most enjoyable dance LPs of the decade.