Dustin Wong’s new release, Dreams Say, View, Create, Shadow Leads, on Thrill Jockey Records, is an intricate, layered musical tapestry. Weaving rhythms and guitar paint incredibly vivid daydreams. The virtuosity on this album is unparalleled. Wong is like a chemist in a lab, mixing sounds as ingredients until he captures what he is trying to convey.
When asked in a recent interview about the theme to his music, Wong said, “Building and collapsing, collapsed by the builders. It’s architecture, to elevate, then humbled by the collapse. I always feel like whenever I think I’ve grown in some way, I have to start from the ground up again. Like planting a seed on the highest branch, then letting that seed grow in to a new tree, then planting a seed again on the highest branch.”
This album closely conveys Wong’s live music performances. “Mostly recorded live, a few overdubs moving around in the stereo-field,” says Wong. Much of “Triangle Train Stop” evokes memories of Tangerine Dream circa Risky Business. But it is, at the same time, wholly original. While firmly rooted in modern technology, there is no sense that the genius of Wong’s guitar playing gets lost in the shuffle. The presentation of songs is different from his previous solo work. Infinite Love was presented as a whole, and in Dreams Say Wong titled each song or idea. While the titles seem abstract at first glance, if you think of the song title while listening to the track, it’s as if you can see the thoughts that must have been swirling around Wong’s mind.
The music drifts in a stream-of-consciousness way, much as Jack Kerouac wrote On the Road. Wong’s imagination leads the listener through his creative process, and how you react is entirely up to your interpretation and life experiences. That is the beauty of Wong’s sheeted layering. Every time you listen, you hear more, you hear differently.
Wong will be touring extensively in support of Dreams Say, View, Create, Shadow Leads.