One last tree. Others of its kind have already died. Their bleak remains, infested and hollowed out by bark beetles, form a dreary natural panorama. Yet one tree defies all this. Its needle dress - a lush dark green. Proudly it wears rich, brown cones, which still remain visible, even from a distance. But why? Has its fate not been sealed long ago? What allowed it to survive this long? And why does it stand out, from all the other sick and dead trees?
With his second studio album, Everything Is the New Nothing / Everything Is the New Something, Rustre from Leipzig, Germany ventures between everything and nothing.
Everything Leads to Nothing
The first part of the album - Everything Is the New Nothing - is marked by melancholy, inner crises and many questions: Rustre describes a world in which we are all networked and connected with each other and simultaneously feel more and more alienated and isolated. In his lyrics, he speaks of interpersonal relationships that develop from mutual togetherness to streamlined coexistence. He tries to escape the boundaries of human language, within which shared names can still refer to different concepts.
He gives in to the collective nature of the responsibility for a planet that is on the verge of climatic collapse.
"Thus, for me, the approximation of everything necessarily leads more and more to a devaluation of what is already there. Accordingly, everything leads to nothing."
Songs like "Bribe" show this resignation. A mason is described who lays down his craft after realizing that, despite his skill, his powers of observation, and his tools, he can never do justice to the creations of nature. He can never possess it by trying to copy it.
Similar to his debut album Still Afraid of Heights (2017), Rustre again consciously seeks musical points of friction. Minimalist, harmonic, electronic sequences and field recording samples are combined with distorted guitar sounds and post-rock allusions, and Rustre's fragile vocals, full of emotionality.
But Rustre didn't just want to show one side of the story and provides a constructive alternative: questions, raised by the first part of the album, are answered by the second part - Everything Is the New Something.
"The two albums are like siblings, separate and independent, yet always linked and belonging together in many ways."
Here Rustre finds himself, through acceptance and self-efficacy: no matter how incapable we are of meeting all the great challenges of our time on our own, we can still change the way we ourselves deal with them, as well as our perspective on them.
"If the way things are is the way we face them, we are not only responsible but also free."
Music Is Where We See It
An important motif of the album is the wind, both lyrically and musically. On his travels to Norway and Ireland, Rustre recorded the winds and storms. The sounds of the sea and the waves.
"The wind is simply there, whether plants and trees like it or not. Their way of dealing with it is flexibility. If a tree were not flexible and would just stand rigidly, its branches would break relatively quickly. To me, this is a great symbol of the idea of acceptance."
The rustling and hissing, the blowing and whirling pervades the songs, sneaking in, building up and raging into discharge. Rustre likes to experiment with such soundscapes and skillfully combines them with analogue instruments and electronic productions - all arranged, recorded and mixed by himself.
"Opposites often only develop when we have an expectation. But if you break away from these expectations, from your habits and patterns of evaluation, you realize: Maybe they are simply different perspectives on the same thing. Everything may be as it is."
On the LP Everything Is the New Nothing / Everything Is the New Something, Rustre negotiates between the opposites of our time and creates two independent albums, the full effect of which only unfolds when they are together.
released September 18, 2020
All songs written, recorded and mixed by Lukas Schöttner
Percussive modular synth on Seaweed Point II by Colmkil
Mastered by Rafael Anton Irisarri, Black Knoll Studio, NY, USA
Cover photograpy by Kilian Schönberger
Cover artwork Everything is the New Something by Michael Weiss
Design by Elstertainment
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