Dreams Say, View, Create, Shadow Leads is Dustin Wong’s second solo LP, an introspective reflection of his imagination demonstrated in resolute fashion. While the chaos of past projects Ponytail and Ecstatic Sunshine displayed the potential and complexity of Wong’s music, his latest release is one of euphoria and lighthearted creativity.
The Hawaiian born experimentalist creates music that’s both calm and convoluted. Guitar loops and pedals act as the record’s adhesive, while other musical elements subtly come and go; intricate loops are layered so elaborately that it’s difficult to pick up on every sound, consciously at least.
Wong’s productions are the soundtrack to his imagination – each song progressively more emphatic, as if each dream becomes more intense and vivid with each additional loop. Abrupt halts to climaxes end each song and turn a new page, like the pivotal points in his dreams; the start of new chapters that delicately unravel as the record progresses.
Once through from beginning to end doesn’t do Dreams Say, View, Create, Shadow Leads justice. This is a record that warrants repeat listens in order to appreciate its complexities and, while this record is about as chaotic as a reord is possible to be, paradoxically it’s an effortless listen – and an enjoyable one. It’s this intricacy that allows a spectrum of interpretation, each element a standalone perception which creates a multifaceted record – telling hundreds of stories rather than a musical narration of a single experience.
Dreams Say, View, Create, Shadow Leads may be busy, but it’s mellow, and at times even quite melancholy – it’s certainly not the elaborate listening experience the record title suggests. Pencil Drove Hill Moon is busy but exudes a sound that’s very subdued, while the offbeat, up-tempo riffs of album concluder Diagonally Talking Echo sound at home amongst the frenzy of elements surrounding it. Yet while these abrupt song endings and elaborate cobwebs of loops sound complex and unique, their tangled arrangement can often blend into one musical kaleidoscope. Wong’s compositions are only as complex as the listener allows them to be, but they’re certainly most efficacious when listening passively.
It’s incredible what Wong can fit into the two minute parameters of each track. But time doesn’t feel like a restriction on this second solo full-length. There’s no need to be wary of time boundaries, as it’s a record free of constraints and suggests that Wong’s musical capabilities, along with his imaginings, are infinite. Clocking in at just under an hour, it’s not the shortest of listens; yet Dreams Say, View, Create, Shadow Leads can pass through your ears in a flash, almost subconsciously.
The absence of lyrics only adds to the credibility of the record as a whole. Vocals are unnecessary, and the screeches of Molly Siegel from Wong’s earlier work with Ponytail wouldn’t offer any relevant benefit. The only assets this experimental musician needs to create his labyrinth of mellifluous noise are embedded into the fabric of his delayed pedals and intelligent loops. This is musical execution at its most lavish.