Dustin Wong & Takako Minekawa - Toropical Circle

Inside the heavenly symmetry of Dustin Wong & Takako Minekawa’s recent collaborative album.


I think about my patterns; regular meal times of nine, noon, and seven, similar sleep, and recurring dreams, within miles of a city and with certain people within those miles, a sameness has been established. Simultaneously, we each create our own monotony, by habit if not intentional. Time and again our monotony transects another, my parallels your parallels, and our perpendiculars, fashioning some greater pattern across the surface of the world. Today, all of my friends are together in one space. Our monotony knows mostly each other’s monotony, our lines mostly each other’s. But soon similar existences will be separate ones, as we scatter and our sameness changes. While I’ll be in college living in a barn in rural Vermont, others will be in a cement block in New York, some in Chicago, others up the Western coast, and elsewhere. We’ll know new strangers, and be new strangers. We’ll all be everywhere rushing about.

I wonder what limitations my sameness has created. If pattern were stitched more loosely, and left unknotted, what lines could mine meet? In a similar sort of sameness, I fulfill sections of my satisfaction separately. Mentally, physically, socially, contentment is compartmentalized to create some monotony. But if defining outlines were to be blurred, what colors would show as the colors in between?

Toropical Circle is an album of the in between colors, of a holistic satisfaction. Trading shades, and shifting direction, the album is a consequence of Wong and Minekawa’s intersection, a pattern made by the exchange two, within the greater pattern of one. On “Windy Prism Room” we hear the walk of Wong’s guitar and sway of Minekawa’s mystery. As above so below, as in conscious so in the subconscious, as with eyes open or with them closed, there is an interior unity which exists as a crisscross of all contraries. Highways and trails alike cross paths, bugs and cars alike cross them. “Two Acorns’ dreams growing as One” rejoices in this unity. The swinging girl and the swinging blade of grass her toes pet on each descent, both swing beneath one afternoon. And the space beneath the moon and the space underneath the belly of the boat, both sit in shade. The flower on the wall and the flower in the garden, are both flowers as we see them. And the wave of the sea, and wave of electricity, are both unending. Through “Story of Hands and Roots” we hear the line of symmetry where this album lives. On one side the roots of its creators, Japanese and Chinese in origin, and the other the hands of them. A crossing, within a crisscross of crossings, within one quilt.  As we stand at the edge of tomorrow and today, time passes in some in between. And in that in between is this interior unity.

Here I sit in a present in between. In between a known sameness in space and pace, and an unknown shift in the two. In this in between, and all in between, exists an interior unity. I’ve sat with this album through graduating high school, through a hike and a picnic, re-launching Portals, days before friends disperse, and I depart, I’ve sat with this album, with quick hands, trying to slacken the stitches of my pattern, and unearth the ground which has ground itself down. Those my lines have become interwoven with, I may only be tangled to for some time longer. Our patterns will loosen as we scatter. And though we’ll be somewhere else, like all else, we’ll all be together in the same backyard of the world.

Toropical Circle is out now via PLANCHA.

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