Review: Rustie @ The Mint Lounge, Manchester

Will Orchard suspends disbelief to lose himself at the hands of electronic artist Rustie, for Who's The Goose's 1st birthday bash at Mint Lounge.

Jayne Robinson

Date published: 4th Nov 2011

Date: Tues 25th October

Words: Will Orchard

Hearing Rustie is a difficult experience to compare to much else. Where describing other producers’ work as ‘eclectic’ or ‘boundary-breaking’ often hides the weakness and superficiality that comes with trying to straddle multiple genres, Russell Whyte manages to create something that’s part hip-hop, part funk, part dubstep, carving out a niche of his own only defined by his (as-yet limitless) vision. 

The diffuse set of sounds and atmospheres present on Whyte’s debut LP ‘Glass Swords’ – released on Warp this October – could risk throwing the record so far in every direction that it loses focus, yet the Glaswegian producer reins in his material with fierce, yet flexible drum patterns and a cocksure confidence – best exemplified in most recent single ‘Ultra Thizz’.

Celebrating their 1st Birthday at Mint Lounge, promoters Who’s The Goose? have Rustie headline and the Scot doesn’t disappoint, transferring the record to the stage by foregrounding those drum lines in bewitching, bewildering fashion.

Little of what he does, either live or on the recorded equivalent, makes sense initially; ‘Hover Traps’ hurtles, within the space of 30 seconds, from tropical, yet adrenalized funk, to Hudson Mohawke-style big hip-hop, via Nintendo- esque chiptune. Meanwhile, the splintered beats of ‘City Star’ are the only thing propping up its intoxicating, spiralling melodies.

Yet questioning it breaks the spell: suspending disbelief for an hour is the most basic of requirements for a Rustie show: losing oneself, the only option. The chin-stroking contingent of bass music nights like tonight are notable by their absence. In part, Whyte has Mint Lounge’s colossal soundsystem to thank; no venue in town can translate both the depth and clarity of his album to big speakers in such a way: you’d struggle to find a venue of Mint Lounge’s size that simultaneously accommodates both the crunching bass and delicate melodies that make up the likes of ‘Death Mountain’. 

His unique formula – pounding marching-band drums, showers of technicolour synth – proves an astounding combination and bearing witness to it is both elating and exhausting.

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