Rushkeys - Outlook (Album Review)

Rushkeys is the moniker of Lithuanian producer Domas Ruškys. His stage name is clever, with his family name Ruškys being phonetically close to Rushkeys, a word that accurately describes his bolting, notation-heavy electronic dance music.

Ruškys has been a professional sound engineer, composer and recording artist for over a decade and previously studied sound engineering and electronic music composition at the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre. This academic background is evident in his luxurious music. There is harmony, counter-melody, and exhilarating crescendos hidden in his spic-and-span mixes. 

Ruškys grew up in a small town on the Baltic coast before relocating to his nation's capital, Vilnius. This connection to rural life is heard in Rushkey's Outlook, a paradisical sonic world anchored by percussion, glistening virtual instruments, and sensitively produced electronic dance music. 

The opening track, "Aurora", slowly builds from a tranquil introduction to a memorable hook that never wanes as it compels the body to move, an ethereal quality, a heady chillwave occupying a liminal space between planes while grounding itself with repetition and somatic intensity. 

"Voyager" moves forward with the precision of a sci-fi video game soundtrack, inducing a visual aesthetic with glitchy electronics, iridescent tones, and hard-hitting melodies. "High Tide (feat. Disc Eyes)" stands alone as the only track with vocals on the collection, a pit-stop on the dreamy instrumental journey which comes before and continues after. With vocals provided diligently by collaborator Disc Eyes, the track never reaches the epic subtly of Rushkeys purely instrumental work, which doesn't need lyrics to tell a story. For example, the dreamy album highlight, "Kira", would play as nicely at a lido on the coast of Mexico as on the dancefloor of a European dive bar, the headphones of a music obsessive, or any number of AI-generated playlists. But there is a human soul to these electronic arrangements, one with a global reach and mass appeal.


Rushkeys operates on similar lines to London-based producer Daniel Avery, lending his strictly electronic music bucketloads of musicality via memorable melodies rich with variations. Like "Soar", which has a drifting quality, and the closing track, "Stargazer", with its deftly built hi-hats and delayed strikes of ambiguous instruments. 

This is efficient music and does the job of recalibrating the brain with its rich frequencies. Yet, as spiritually rewarding as it is, it can sometimes feel like you're on hold with your bank. This is likely the result of Rushkeys' professional history in commercial music production. Thankfully, on Outlook, Rušky's technical abilities merge effortlessly with his artistic sensibilities to create functional and inspiring music.