Dustin Wong: Meditation of Ecstatic Energy
(Thrill Jockey, 9/17/13)
"Liberal Christian Youth Ministry"
Former Ponytail and Ecstatic Sunshine guitarist Dustin Wong’s fifth solo album starts out with a mechanical, static-saturated pulse that verges on glitch rock and immediately announces a departure from the melodicism and warmth of Wong’s previous solo material. Soon, however, Wong’s skill at upending tonal conventions becomes apparent in the way he subverts the “glitchy” qualities of the track and creates an atmosphere that becomes more and more welcoming, even celebratory, as the music plays.
The final installment of an album trilogy that began in 2010 with Wong’s third solo outing (and Thrill Jockey debut) Infinite Love, this new album, like its two predecessors, consists of one continuous piece of (essentially) instrumental music. By this point in his solo career, Wong has clearly defined the guitar-looping technique that serves as his primary creative method. But there are times on Mediation of Ecstatic Energy (which draws heavily for inspiration on Wong’s experiences as a Christian school student) when it’s no longer evident that Wong is generating sounds using loops or pedals. In those moments, Wong once again succeeds at presenting fresh possibilities for what’s possible with loops and effects.