Exposé Online banner

Wei Zhongle — Raised High / Brought Low
((Not on label) no#, 2013, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2014-07-19

Raised High / Brought Low Cover art

In the history of rock, most bands have consisted of guitars, electric bass, and drums. A lot have added keyboards, and smaller numbers have added strings and woodwinds of various kinds. But Wei Zhongle's lineup consists of guitar (often prepared), bass, drums, and two clarinets. That alone almost certainly puts them in a category by themselves, and when you add the Asian-inflected singing style, they have a really distinctive sound. All of which would be mere curiosity if it weren't for the quality of the music they produce. So many factors come together to make this work. The guitar is generally the basic instrument of the arrangements, but both the preparations and Rob Jacobs' unusual playing style put this well outside the normal sound of guitar-based rock. The strings often have a dull ringing gong-like tone, and are played in a percussive way. And then there are the clarinets. Their parts are often arranged as interlocking lines, much the way Fripp and Belew worked out their guitar parts in the 80s King Crimson material. At other times the two parts are more like conventional harmonies, and at still other times, they provide eerie long tones and dissonant sounds. Very nice stuff! And then there are the vocals — Jacobs sings with a nasal tone reminsiscent of Far Eastern traditional styles (Thai, Balinese, Japanese, Chinese) and in scales that do not fit the Western major/minor dichotomy. All in all, Wei Zhongle is one of the most fascinating American bands right now, and a real joy to discover. This short album (32 minutes) is a great introduction to a new flavor for music, and I guarantee you've never heard anything like it.


Filed under: New releases, 2013 releases

Related artist(s): Wei Zhongle, Rob Jacobs

More info
http://weizhongle.bandcamp.com

Latest news

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more

2017-05-02
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more

2017-04-16
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more

2017-04-16
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Genre Peak - Ends of the Earth – Genre Peak is the trio of Martin Birke (vocals, drum programming, percussion), Daniel Panasenko (Stick, upright bass), and Stephen Sullivan (guitar, guitar synth, backing vocals). I reviewed an album...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues