Dustin Wong - Internal Hot Spring (SR, 2021)

Dustin Wong - Internal Hot Spring (SR, 2021)

Of all the years I’ve been searching out live music in all the many cities I’ve been lucky enough to live in, one of most memorable, and most beautiful experiences was the night PonyTail blew up a small, sweaty basement in Barcelona on a random Tuesday night.

I remember the moment when it felt like everything suddenly took flight, Dustin Wong's guitar riffs flew into the air, my colleague's wallet flew into the air and I myself flew into the air. Me and my friend, and the twenty other audience members, all left with the feeling that we had been part of something special. A feeling layered on top of that peculiar feeling only a weekday gig can give you, the feeling of getting one up on a monotonous and boring day when the only thing you "feel part of" are the ever grinding cogs of mindless economy.

Just as when he was playing in the Baltimore band, Wong continues to push his guitar to the barely imagined limits of versatility. In his hands the strings are a kind of generator of flashes of sound that layer into a form which is somehow both crystalline, chaotic and constantly on the edge of the boiling point.

Just released in digital form, Internal Hot Spring, celebrates Wong’s extraordinary capacity to pull new and surprising sounds out of thin air, time and time again. Each of his songs is an unexpected journey full of loop-of-loops, each track launching you into worlds built from a combination of playfulness and a fantastic and ever varying sensibility.  Wong weaves together a variety of intricate rhythms, that at times seem to have been sequenced with some alien technology.

This album once again demonstrates how Wong manipulates the timbres and harmonies of this music, so that the complex underlying structure of his songs engages but does not overwhelm. His music is of that rare kind that becomes more and more accessible with repeated listening, but without loosing any of its pull. As you start to live with this music, it gradually melts into a kind of balm that soothes some of the rawness of life, it is both clarifying and grounding. In a world that can feel like an endless game of hide-and-seek, where some days you feel like you being thrown round in a whirlpool flashed through with the crackle and glare of neon lights, Wong’s music can both find you, and keep you company.

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