Album Review

Wei Zhongle – “Operators, The” – [Self Sabatage]

Thurston Hunger   2/21/2018   A Library, CD

Chicago project that has molted often, but kept
singer Ron Jacobs as the chief card-carrying member.
Indeed from this release to v5.0 per their F’book
site, even fellow founder John McCowen and his
electronic clarinet have slithered away. That
clarinet, with Jacob’s guitar gives this album a
peculiar feel. The guitar is often brittle, more
apt to break off notes then chords, often with a
clipped bright processing. McCowen’s clarinet
has an even tighter, amped up sound, more like a
synth than a wind. Interesting. The songs centered
on that pair are somewhere in a DMZ between pop
and prog. I’m thinking of 80’s Japan (dreaming of
clarinet cuckoos in Magic I.D.) Jacob’s singing
silkens the kimono effect, gentle/clean. “Nosejob”
lets Phil Sudderberg have a little percussion fun
and gives a rare groove to bassist Pat Keen. But
“Inside Your Insides” is what hit me in my sonic
plexus. Bandname may translate as “Microgravity”
or perhaps “Your services are no longer needed” ;>
-Thurston Hunger

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