Posted on 2013/07/28 20:03
  • Live Report
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Dustin Wong (with Special Guest: Takako Minekawa)

Tokyo-based Chinese/American guitarist Dustin Wong and influential Shibuya-kei artist Takako Minekawa delivered a highly complex yet minimalistic performance at the Gypsy Avalon stage early on Sunday evening that left an increasingly weary Fuji Rock audience with a massive smile on its face. You might be wondering if that statement is in fact contradictory and you would indeed be right. Allow me to explain…

Once a founding member of art-rock outfit Ponytail, Wong typically uses looping techniques to create a highly technical sound comprised of multiple layers that are delivered in a semi-abstract way. Coming out on his own at first on Sunday, his solo instrumental compositions helped set the stage for the warm fuzziness that would soon follow. Hunched over his pedals while sitting on a chair, he produced a diverse range of ambient sounds that had summer written all over them. It didn’t always work, though, and his overall compositions occasionally felt a little convoluted at times, as if he was trying to fill an empty pocket of sound simply by adding another layer to the mix.

Enter Minekawa, who didn’t actually add that much in terms of substance to the arrangements on offer during their set. Instead of lyrics, she mostly threaded whispered “ooohs” and “ahs” throughout the songs, keeping the volume to a minimum so it in no way became overwhelming.

The end result was a brain-pleasing mix of music that basically rekindled nostalgic feelings of what it was like to be a kid in summer. Take the execution of the pair’s first single “Party on a Floating Cake,” for example, which trembled with all the excitement of an 8-year-old in a candy shop. It was experimental pop at its very best and I, for one, can’t think of a better way to celebrate summer.