Dustin Wong - Mediation of Ecstatic Energy (3 stars)

Dustin Wong - Mediation of Ecstatic Energy

The former Ponytail guitarist presents an ecstatic celebration of sound

(Thrill Jockey)

Dustin Wong is probably best known as guitarist for now defunct art-rockers Ponytail, but even before their split in 2011 he had been quietly building a reputation as one of the most progressive solo guitarists around, with a collection of acclaimed forward thinking records. Since going solo full-time his output has only become more impressive, and earlier this year he released a stunning collaboration album with Japanese electro queen Takako Minkawa.

This new record marks the final entry in a trilogy of solo albums which explore the complex peripheries of sound which can be teased from his guitar and pedals set-up. Where Wong stands apart from his peers is in the sense of joy her creates from that set-up – unlike many, it is not all po-faced ambience and doomy drones. Instead he sculpts ecstatic celebrations of sound, a maelstrom of picked notes and gentle swathes of feedback which morph at an incredible pace.

His rampant creativity can be found throughout, whether it's in the squeaking horn sounds on 'Out of The Crown Head' fuelling the circus like madness or the 80's guitar sound of 'Cityscape Floated', which wouldn't sound out of place on the Drive soundtrack. Wong never stays still for long and more than anything he exhibits an insatiable curiosity for sound, shifting between styles in a disorientating manner similar to fellow Japanese sound pioneer World's End Girlfriend. One thing Wong holds back on is the percussion, which is used to emphatically sparing effect; most notably the driving rhythm which picks up on 'Physical Consciousness' or the steady pulse that drives the simple but addictive melody on 'Aura Peeled Off'.

This release should really cement Dustin Wong's position as one of the most brilliant guitarists working today, with an ability to combine insane technical skills with creative verve and a real emotional impact. While some may find the lack of instrument variation a bit exhausting over 14 tracks, this album should be a must-buy for six-string aficionados simply because you can really hear his love for the guitar coursing through every single note.

Released on Mon 16 Sep 2013.

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