Album of the Day: Dustin Wong + Takako Minekawa + Good Willsmith, “Exit Future Heart”

Tokyo-based duo Dustin Wong and Takako Minekawa were passing through Chicago while on tour last year, and decided to take a few hours to jam with the Windy City trio Good Willsmith (Natalie Chami—aka TALsounds—Doug Kaplan, and Maxwell Allison); the six tracks that comprise Exit Future Heart were improvised and recorded during that session. It would have been hard to predict in advance how things would have turned out: Both acts tend to approach their mostly-electronic compositions playfully, with Wong and Minekawa favoring to regular patterns and cute melodies, and Good Willsmith opting for the abstract, their improvised free-for-alls ping-ponging all over the place, full of delirious mischief. Combined, they could have easily amplified one another’s kookier aspects and ended up with something both overstimulated and overstimulating.

Instead, by some miraculous alchemical reaction, each has brought out the vivid beauty in the other. This is, very simply, a gorgeous record. There are some tangible reference points: a motorik krautrock beat underpinning “The Garden of Earthly Flanger”; some freaky vocal processing in “Aiの名” that recalls the post-Arca school of contemporary electronica; a particular interaction between the cymbals and high-frequency synths on “擬感情物語” that feels descended from early ‘90s Underground Resistance and Carl Craig.

Here and there, you might hear hints of The Necks’ slo-mo jams, or The Orb at their best and most intergalactic. But more often, you won’t even notice the lineage, because the sound consistently transcends not only influence, but its own immediate sources: you won’t know whether what you’re hearing is organic or electronic, but it hardly matters, because the result is simply blissful. If you’re spiritually inclined, Future Heart may transport you to some higher plane of serenity. And if you’re not spiritually inclined, it might just change your mind.

-Joe Muggs

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