Live: Rustie Gets Maximalist At Santos Party House

Rustie w/Mess Kid, Kilo Kish, Spaceghostpurrp
Santos Party House
Tuesday, May 15

Better than: Being in a quiet, big room.

Glaswegian producer Rustie (born Russel Whyte) makes huge dance tracks that are helping define a new maximalist, everything-goes ethos in electronic dance music. The basement of Santos Party House, where he headlined the Shortcuts party last night, is relatively tiny. This resulted in people new to the space, but familiar with Rustie's work, inspect its close walls quizzically, seemingly wondering how so much sound was going to fit into such a small space.

As it turned out, the sound fit just fine. Despite having to wait an hour and a half for initial opening act Mess Kid to arrive, and another two and a half for the man himself, the crowd thrilled to Rustie. He responded to the enthusiasm deftly, playing well enough to merit an encore even as half the crowd was exhausted to the point of collapse, but still awake enough to thrash around and elbow each other's faces until Whyte's laptop was shut for good.

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Underwhelmed And Overstimulated, Part Eight: What Happened When Skrillex Helped America Discover Rave

Sound of the City's year-end roundtable, with contributions from Tom Ewing, Eric Harvey, Maura Johnston, Nick Murray, and Katherine St. Asaph, continues. Follow along here.

Thanks Katherine—though I'm afraid I'm going to kick the "defending Drake" can further down the road, and leave it to Nick or Eric. I don't enjoy Drake, and sad to say the main thing he makes me feel is "I'm too old for this shit": the world of gender, fame and power relations he's a window onto seems grim and thankless, even if playing it up is his game. Whatever emotions a man of 38 is meant to feel listening to a man of 25, relief surely isn't one of them.

But on the other hand, the first thing I thought of when I heard "Marvin's Room" was, er, my own teenage faves The Wedding Present, and David Gedge's habit of transcribing knotty, private half-conversations in songs—the woman's responses sometimes implied but never given trackspace. Nobody ever called his productions beautiful, but while the genre changes, the manipulative angst remains and will always find an audience.

This kind of automatic pattern recognition is the curse of listening to music too long: You identify things too quickly, it becomes hard to push ghosts aside and focus on what a piece of music is doing in the now. The most-cited book in music criticism this year was Simon Reynolds' Retromania, his attempt to tackle this head-on and ask whether our culture is addicted to its own past. The book touched a nerve with many readers, who intuitively agreed with Reynolds' sense that music's drive towards the future had sputtered and stalled. My feeling is that private retromania—the involuntary encroachment of your own memory—is more of a problem than acts reusing and referencing the '80s and '90s. Occasionally in 2011 I found myself unable to offer much comment on an artist, simply because I felt like I knew and had heard too much.

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