Dustin Wong

Fluid World Building 101 with Shaman Bambu

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Fluid World Building 101 with Shaman Bambu is Dustin Wong's return to solo work after several albums with Takako Minekawa, and it's easily one of his most intricately constructed works. Every bit as spiritual, cartoonish, and splashy as its title, it truly feels like a self-contained, three-dimensional sound sphere, with numerous layers of circular guitar riffs, voices, and synth effects constantly revolving but never crashing into each other. While percussive elements embellish tracks like opener "Nite Drive with Shaman Bambu," the sounds seem to go on a rhythmic lunar cruise all by themselves. The entire album doesn't just pull the same trick, however. "Don't Be Ashamed" begins with industrial thudding before turning into a lovely ballad with gentle guitars and doleful vocals. "Village Made of Zephyr" is the most abstract, shadowy piece, but there's still a hint of a bassline patiently holding it all together. Following that, the album is back to being playful and exploratory. "Desert Via Hovercamel" includes Paul Lansky-like chatter manipulations among the swooping guitars, and the vocals on the eerie first half of "New Societies Interacting, Let's Zoom In" are pitched up and disembodied, sounding like Future Sound of London circa Lifeforms. The second half is much more joyous, as brighter guitar tones scamper around and shimmering synths ebb and flow. Fluid World Building 101 is a master class in sonic architecture, yet it feels spontaneous and spirited rather than bookish and technical. Thoroughly impressive and enjoyable.

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