Dustin Wong is the lightning-fast guitarist and loop aficionado behind the crazy sound of the late noise rock band Ponytail, as well as his own instrumental forays, including last years 'Meditation of Ecstatic Energy'. Takako Minekawa, meanwhile, is an established J-pop songwriter with twee and electronic inclinations. They've already released one record together, and 'Savage Imagination' is their second, collection together the collage of sounds both artists are interested in into a bright pop sound.
8/10 Mike Staff review, 19 September 2014
It's a strangely Shibuya-kei-heavy week for me. Yesterday I had a new album from Buffalo Daughter to write about, and today another legend of the genre, Takako Minekawa, turns up with her second collaboration with guitar loop wizard and former Ponytail, Dustin Wong - his first release since completing his kaleidoscopic trilogy of solo albums. As you'd probably expect, 'Savage Imagination' continues where their previous meeting 'Toropical Circle' left off with some dizzyingly virtuosic and mercurially imaginative but also slightly twee and syrupy progressive pop.
I feel like the highlights come early on, with the album losing its way a little towards the end, but what highlights! Opener 'Pale Tone Wifi' expands Wong's loop-tapestry style to include layers of wordless cooing vocals from the two of them and minimal drumbeats in a dreamily uplifting way that brings to mind Minekawa's other half Cornelius. 'Ancient Aluminium Forest' which follows it goes off on an entirely different tangent, a twitching mass of percussive clicks and pops which Wong teeters over with a drill-like tremolo effect, then there's some crazy drum pad action and what sounds like a squeaky swingset sample being played on a Fairlight.
Then 'Luminescent Earth Traveler' delves into some Sun Araw-ish minimal echoey post-dub that bursts into irresistible grooves and side A's closer 'She He See Feel' is a magnificent slice of dinky hyperactive post-Deerhoof pop. There's another side too, patchier than the first but still with some gloriously weird and dangerously catchy sounds on it. If you enjoyed their first collaboration, I would fully expect you to like this too.
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- Savage Imagination by Takako Minekawa & Dustin Wong
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