Dustin Wong and Takako Minekawa are artistic omnivores, soaking up a myriad of cultural artifacts and styles, savoring bits and pieces and recontexutalizing them into an entirely delightful and playfully intricate songs. Their songs are embued with a relentless cheerfulness that belies their technicality, steeped in the history of Japanese pop music and exuding the joy of discovery and exploration. Dustin and Takako are serious musicians not afraid to play it silly. Savage Imagination is their second album as a duo and shows their collaboration in full bloom. It is an collection of vibrant pop music, laced with the sounds of video games, radiophonic experiments, and indigenous music from around the world.
In preparation for writing and recording Savage Imagination, Dustin and Takako developed a new interface in which they could both seamlessly shift from guitar to keyboards to sampler to vocals, expanding timbral possibilities and allowing them to utilize many of the dynamic looping techniques Dustin perfected in his solo work with this wider palate. As that palate morphs throughout Savage Imagination, Takako breathy but emotionally resonant voice remains a constant, providing characteristically inventive melodies that soar above Dustin’s florescent guitars. On “She He See Feel” Takako sings about quantum physics, human consciousness, and flying above a desert all within the framework of Japanese puns. Their playful energy and omnivorous approach is reflected in the album’s art, a diorama created by the duo while they were recording the music.
Savage Imagination was recorded at home by Takako and Dustin: “We both hit the record button for each other.” Dustin was introduced to the world as a member of Ponytail, and has spent the past several years making incredibly deep and complex albums of looped solo electric guitar for Thrill Jockey. Takako Minekawa first rose to international prominence as a Shibuya-kei singer in the mid-90s with the song “Fantastic Cat” and her albums Roomic Cube and Cloudy Cloud Calculator. She has collaborated with Ryuichi Sakamoto, Cornelius, Buffalo Daughter, Dymaxion, and others. Dustin and Takako will tour Asia and North America this fall as a duo.