Dustin Wong’s performance at the August 12th microshow was one of the most engaging we’ve seen. Known primarily for his role in Ponytail, he’s been gaining momentum as a solo artist and Thursday’s set was a testament to his massive skills as a composer and guitarist. His solo music is a study in patterns and signal theory. His methodology is formulaic, almost mathematical, but the result is anything but expected. He builds each song or sequence by layering simple melodies and rhythms, adding one layer, looping it through his corral of pedals, then adding another. He repeats and tweaks until it reaches a swaying, hypnotic, yet thoroughly musical, cacophony. Then he abruptly stops and immediately enters into a new, suddenly quiet and uncluttered, layer. Before you realize he’s ended one song, he’s off into a new sequence.
The approach itself isn’t entirely novel. His real genius lies in his ability to edit, to pick through a seemingly infinite combination of variables, and to write and combine numerous songlets without ever sounding redundant or trite. His music draws at times from Philip Glass and Raymond Scott and hints at subtle Japanese Gagaku themes in the layering. Download the tracks from the show and we think you’ll be amazed as we were that all this came from one dude and a guitar.
Techincal info: U87/SM57 on front cab (1176), Sennheiser 441 on rear, AT PZMs for room.
Recorded on August 12, 2010 at Mobtown Studios
Guitar by Dustin Wong
Mixed and produced by Mat Leffler-Schulman
Artwork by David Manchester