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CD of the Year: Rustie - Glass Swords | reviews, news & interviews

CD of the Year: Rustie - Glass Swords

CD of the Year: Rustie - Glass Swords

Virtuoso psychedelic hyperstimulation from the young Glaswegian

Rustie's 'Glass Swords': the restrained artwork concealing demented contents

If 2011 was the year when dance music's natural tendency to fragmentation was taken to extremes, this album was the one that bound those fragments together into one demented but scintillating vision. Russell Whyte – Rustie – comes from a very particularly Scottish club scene that is the perfect antidote to the idea that musical connoisseurship means nerdiness.

From the very simple imperative of moving a dance floor in fresh ways comes an explosion of ideas and influences: retro video game soundtracks, obscure Japanese noise bands, the hyper-capitalist hyper-pop of 21st-century R&B, the prog rock of Yes at their most overblown, and the functional futurism of a thousand rave and techno sects and sub-sects, and so on, and on...

But here is the thing: that imperative to produce instant, thrilling, fun music is always adhered to, and that gives it coherence. So the 1980s pop fizz of “All Nite” and the eye-popping rave mania of “Crying Flames” are both completely of a piece with one another, both unmistakably the product of the same very personal collection of influences. Despite its creation for sweaty loons, this can be appreciated off the dance floor too, albeit probably not in your favourite easy chair. Try it in the car: if a better antidote to the dreary, rock-dad Clarksonisation of the driving experience has been created I'd like to hear it. Be warned though, you may suddenly find yourself convinced you are piloting some kind of psychedelic fighter craft through hyperspace. You don't get that with Chris Rea...

Check out Glass Swords's (uncharacteristically subdued) title track:

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