On their latest album, The Operators, Wei Zhongle achieves a natural continuation and a stark departure from their previous output. Gone is the spacious brooding of the band's most outré fare, replaced with a raw and potent funkiness, a radiant optimism, and undeniable hooks. It's no less trance-inducing than they've been at their heaviest, but it's a different sort of ecstasy, one marked by deep grooves, sinewy melodies and frenetic paces.
Wei Zhongle was born in a midwestern oasis from a love of traditional Chinese court music and general esotericism. Now they make pop music. Led by guitarist & vocal gymnast Rob Jacobs, Wei Zhongle has had four differing line-ups over five albums released with avant-taste-makers like NNA Tapes, Hairy Spider Legs, and New Atlantis. Constants Rob Jacobs and John McCowen are now joined by workhorses Pat Keen (Ramp Local) and Phil Sudderberg, adding a burrowing depth of groove to fleeting melodies and clamorous reeds.