The Mad Scientist: Rustie Rips Up Oxford Arts

“What genre is Rustie?” asked James who hadn’t heard Rustie’s music before. Sitting in a group of seven on a long wooden table at Forresters in Darlinghurst, this question drew different reactions out of all of us. There were scattered replies and several disagreements but we settled on – considerable synths, low-slung beats, morphing basslines with a hint of rap/trap. The 32-year-old Scotsman premiered his new ‘Green Language’ show at Oxford Arts Factory last night.

Warming things up was DJ Oneman, hailing from South-London. Oneman is often referred to the DJ of all DJs and was the first ever DJ to appear on Mary Hobbs’ BBC Radio One show without releasing a single record. Oneman’s visuals were some of the best I’ve seen in a while. He literally had a mini-character of himself playing Super Mario – can you get any cooler than that? One of the best things I found about Oneman was that he wasn’t scared to delve into different styles throughout his whole set. It gave him a strong connection with the crowd – each member of the mosh recognising at least one or two songs and getting their jam on.

Darkness descended on stage and a sound technician hurriedly rushed over with a tiny flashlight, readying the set and equipment for Rustie’s headlining set. Opening the set with the dominating synths, bass and snares of Raptor, the crowd were immediately sent into an absolute frenzy. It was an welcome introduction into how experimental Rustie can be, and the set only grew more interesting from there. You think that the song is going one way but then it takes a U-Turn off the highway and speeds off into another direction.

Rustie is widely acclaimed for his collaborations with Detroit rapper Danny Brown. The story of how the two teamed up is one you might find intriguing. Ahead of Brown’s album release last year, Rustie emailed Brown. Having never Brown before, the email from Rustie read “Yo, I want to submit some tracks for your new album.” Brown ended up using 3 out of the 7 tracks that Rustie submitted including Attak which was definitely the highlight of his set last night. There’s something about Brown’s voice that blends with Rustie’s backing track superbly. It creates this wonderful fusion of genres, and really, who couldn’t love Danny Brown rapping to a huge bassline?

Towards the ends of the set he dropped After Light, A$AP Ferg’s Work and Pusha T and Co.’s killer remix of Hudson Mohawke’s Chimes. Bouncing from song to song, both original and borrowed, it all melded superbly throughout an hour and fifteen minutes. The only criticism I would have would be not seeing his new visuals of Green Language. The concept comes from Egyptian philosophy, and acted as inspiration for most of the visuals on his new album, also titled Green Language.

Rustie quotes, “I don’t really think about the finished product, I kind of just make songs.” He’s not tied to any boundaries of genre and fuses his own brilliant creations, piece by piece.

Catch Rustie at the Red Bull Music Academy x Future Classic Stage at the remaining legs of Laneway Festival in Melbourne, Adelaide and Fremantle.