Glasgow’s Russell Whyte is behind some of the most joyous, hyperactive, and truly original club music of recent years. As electronic alchemist Rustie, he harnesses the energy and euphoria of hyphy hip-hop and trance, spikes it with speaker-mangling bass and flashes of techno and channels this all into intense dancefloor detonators, a sound he honed playing at nights thrown by local label collectives Numbers and LuckyMe.
Rustie distilled this all to critical acclaim for his 2011 debut album on Warp, ‘Glass Swords’, which was celebrated for its meditation on everything from grime and hip-hop to sci-fi computer games and even prog rock. It won the Guardian’s prestigious First Album award the following year, which praised Rustie’s ability to imbue shotgun-blast-to-the-face beats with “real emotion” – musical warmth that belies his stoic and deadly shy nature in person. “A big part of music for me is to say things that you can’t say with words,” he admits. “I’m so shit with words that this is one of the only ways I can get anything out.”
Consequently, he has created his own electronic vocabulary, one that ducks and dives and swoops, never sticking faithfully to just one genre but pulling you along breathlessly with it. So it’s fitting that he has called his new and second album ‘Green Language’ after the multi-faceted term and nickname for ‘the language of the birds’. Green language has different meanings in Norse medieval literature, Renaissance magic and ancient mythology, and many considered it the key to perfect knowledge. For Rustie, it echoes his attitude towards music, too. “It’s a language that’s non-dualistic, that speaks to you directly to your emotions without the mind interfering with the message,” he explains. “And music is like that for me.”