There’s a thin line between happy and hardcore. Go too far in one direction and you lose bounce. Go too far in the other and you lose brain cells. Judging from Rustie’s new track “Slasherr,” we are but a few mollies away from ushering in a Happy Hardcore revival, in which large groups of adolescents will abandon their brostep EDM gear and gallivant around in size 60 JNCO jeans and pacifiers. Early 90s house redux is already upon us and things move in 20 year cycles. Don’t believe me, just watch (and invest in the manufacturing of colored pixie beads.)
Then there is Rustie, whose palette has always leaned towards the day-glo. The much-missed Son Raw even joked that he considered branding his music “Skittle Step,” in the wake of Ultra Thizz, an album-length admonishment to touch the furry wall. Word to Aldous Snow. “Slasherr” is his first notable song since, a doubling down of his aesthetic that has always combined hip-hop drums with synths so bright that Riff Raff would flinch. The Astral Plane said it splits the difference between Toomp and Tiesto. It’s not all that off, except that Toomp uses negative space to invoke eeriness, while Rustie has a excess streak that approaches the level of Action Bronson at a baklava buffet. Yet out all of the guys blending hip-hop drums with euphoric hand claps and fist pumping movements, the Scottish producer is one of the most effective.
There’s a utility to a song like this. Listening to it in succession five or six times subjects you to a quick sugar rush and low ebb, like you ate an entire box of sour patch kids in the first five minutes of the movie. But it’s inevitably going to work it’s way as a staple of DJ sets for next six months. It’s tailor-made for the molly mangled and it feels like the best case scenario for the kids who got turned onto electronic music via Daft Punk at the 2006 Coachella. I don’t know if the seratonin levels can be stretched much thinner than this. It feels like the last good moment before your the drugs wear off and your brain starts to feel like a soggy bowl of Fruity Pebbles. But if this is the vanishing point, I’m good with that. After all, everyone deserved better than Justice.