Dustin Wong – Mediation Of Ecstatic Energy (Thrill Jockey)
LP / CD / DL
Ex Ponytail and Ecstatic Sunshine member, Dustin Wong, releases his new album. Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates is on hand to review.
This is a slightly peculiar beast if ever I heard one. A nice one, but slightly peculiar.
On the final part of the album trilogy that started in 2010 with his ‘Infinite Love’ album, Wong plays guitar in a very original way accompanied by an octave pedal to produce something that is compelling and intriguing. With influences of Surf Rock and John Fahey from his upbringing in Hawaii, the scene is set.
From the experimental opening of The Big She to the curiously titled A Shows B His Analysis And C Looked Over, Wong also wails avant garde sounds to complete tracks which incorporates drum loops and near prog-rock guitars. The former could be called aggressive compared to the rest of the album which tends to be spiritual in sound. The later builds from simple guitar and gradually builds and builds via more loops and added instrumentation.
Wong’s way of work is certainly interesting, but it has to be questioned if it is sustainable over fourteen tracks. Initially, yes it is, the layers of guitars which come and go are interesting, and whilst ‘Mediation Ecstatic Energy’ isn’t going to stop the Universe, it’s certainly worth getting on board for a ride.
‘Aura Peeled Off’ starts with a rock feel and could be lifted straight from the 70s before crashing into ‘Out Of The Crown Head’ quite literally. The transition from track to track is poor, with a new one starting without gap, mix, fade in or out. It’s like watching American TV where you have no warning aboutt an advert or a programme restarting. It’s frustrating and actually quite amateur sounding.
Comparisons could be made to Mike Oldfield and ‘Tubular Bells’ in so much as the way each piece appears from nothing and morphs into grand compositions and it’s probably easy to see this album fitting in nicely alongside. That’s a compliment of sorts, by the way.
The intro to penultimate track, ‘Vision Waterfall’ sounds more like the theme from ‘Twilight Zone’ than maybe the theme does itself and closer ‘Tall Call Cold Sun’ is a gentle end to an album of interest, but possibly not longevity.
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog. Paul is working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, the BBCs longest running alternative music programme. Follow him on twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news or follow hiapop Blog on Twitter, @hiapop.