King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard are a group that require no introduction, so we’ll keep it short. Innovation, talent, versatility and full-blown-psychedelic-weirdness should sum up the most pivotal aspects of this fantastically whacky musical cohort.
Long time curators of weird psych and whacked-out riffage, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are receiving the compilation treatment courtesy of us. These 6 are their weirdest!
Showcasing a staggeringly broad plethora of expression, King Gizz constantly push the envelope of original musicality by warping the unstated status-quo of acceptability within an evolving yet still commercially resistant realm of contemporary popular music.
In anticipation of their upcoming seventh full length LP Nonagon Infinity, we’ve compiled a collection of the weirdest tracks from each of their previous efforts to show you just how weird it gets with our mates, the Gizz.
Float Along, Fill Your Lungs (2013) – I’m Not a Man Unless I Have a Woman
Landing itself as the first track in this whacky compilation, thanks to its well-rounded reflection of King Gizz’s most recognisable aspects, is I’m Not a Man Unless I Have a Woman. Sporting a driving bassline, beat 2 punchy-bluesy gat hits and earthy drums which heavily feature tom fills, you wouldn’t be wrong in questioning this songs place within an EP that can only be described as “bloody weird”.
A short indulgence into the vocal entry, however, will have you second guessing any thoughts of this song as being generic, with spaciously filtered high vocals from Ambrose panning into our brains from the right while female vocal embellishments drill themselves in through your left headphone. To top it all off we hear the piercing tone of a sitar subtly soaring through the mix, marking this piece as distinctly King Gizzard in its abstract creativity while somehow retaining appeal to a broader musical palate.
12 Bar Bruise (2012) – Sam Cherry’s Last Shot
Sam Cherry’s Last Shot, originally recorded as an instrumental, fits right into the Gizz’s cozy mould of weirdness. The tune kicks off with the narration of a segment from the 1883 novel “33 Years Among Our Wild Indians” before an atmospheric guitar enters over the story, embellished by generous use of whammy.
The groove sits within lazy pulsing kit work and a bass line that mimics the initial melody, utilising minor tonalities reminiscent of an old western, emphasising the narration and making us feel like we’re walking through some kind of warped psychedelic desert landscape. The track continues easing us along the tantalising strangeness of an extended King Gizz session.
Quarters (2015) – Infinite Rise
Next stop on our journey is the second quarter Infinite Rise from the notorious 40 minute, 40 second album Quarters. Running for 10:10 (it’s a quarter, in case you’re slow like me and didn’t make that connection), Infinite Rise plays off of psychedelic interjection, steady pulse and set sections which are held stable through tight but relaxed drumming that swings steadily and contours insistently.
The track kicks off with some cheekily subtle word painting – a seemingly “infinite rise” synth effect that ascends into the groove – that attests to its place within the ‘Weird EP’, before transitioning into the groove with the aid of a tastefully appropriate drum fill.
Another factor that grants Infinite Rise a place in the EP over its other 3 quarters is the unique metering of the verse vocals, which kick off from beat two in a 3 beat phrase that leaves ambiguous space on the beginning of each bar. Soaring psych-guitar melodies and freakish samples shine sporadically throughout this massive number, signposting it as markedly King Gizzard while maintaining a unique strangeness amongst its fellow tracks.
Oddments (2014) – Alluda Majaka
As the opening track from Oddments, Alluda Majaka (after a 1995 Tollywood film of the same name) is a banging instrumental number that pumps you full of lead in preparation for a barrage of psyched up noise and, as such, wins it a place in our list. Contrasting to the previous selections, Alluda Majaka ups the tempo and overall intensity with super-tight ‘n crispy drumming and a hard pulsing bass riff.
To keep it aligned with the theme of selection, a whacky Bollywood-esque intro bends our expectations off-track before we’re punched straight into a rolling pulse. Keys shine through as the big hero of this story with a no-holds-barred solo shred session that allows for creative melodic and rhythmic bashing over the one-key beat. Sporadic interjections of Bolly/Tollywood samples make for a number that’s as much of a hilarious time as it is a head-bangin’ key shred fest.
I’m In Your Mind Fuzz (2014) – Hot Water
No King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard compilation would be complete without a showcase of some unorthodox instrumentation, and Hot Water is an exemplar for highlighting King Gizz’s diversity and willingness to piss on the box – from the outside.
From the get go the groove is introduced as it pans from the left side into the centre while simultaneously being automated out of a holistic pop-filter. Clarity climaxes as we exit the underwater world into the open air where two flutes shamelessly pump out a modal-toned melody with octaves separating them, showcasing the flavoursome timbre of airy-but-concise flute execution.
The relatively quick pulse from the simple rock drum beat and single-tone bass crotchets, as well as the instrumental freedom (in this case, the flute) to solo over a minimalistic progression, bears resemblance to the upbeat energy from Alluda Majaka, making Hot Water an appropriate follow up in our Weird EP so as to draw some sort of thematic line of relevance.
Paper Mache Dream Balloon (2015) – Trapdoor
The final instalment of this collective of the weird and wonderful is Trapdoor. With befuddling time signatures, beautiful melody, droningly hysteric lyrical work and overall psychedelic mania. Trapdoor epitomises all the Gizzard things that we’re looking for. To set the pace for strange things, we hear a rapid onset acceleration into the repeated ritualistic chanting of “trapdoor” by two voices separated by two octaves.
As if that’s not enough, it’s done over a glitchy meter that goes from a bar of 4/4 into a bar of 3/4 (or single bars of 7/4, if you’re into that), making it a real challenge to take grasp of what exactly is going on. Thankfully, King Gizz in their infinite benevolence have the good will of transitioning into smooth rolling 4/4 meter while maintaining drive as chordal keys set the tonality for some gorgeously clear high vocals and background woodwind harmonizing – some smooth sax, sexy?
Trapdoor holds impeccable control over alternative experimentation with tones and timing while flawlessly balancing the scale with sections of very palatable progressions and melody. This unexpected equilibrium earns it the final spot in our six-song Weird EP in a demonstration of King Gizzard’s ability to constantly test and challenge the norm while appealing to a wider audience, forever expanding our musical horizon in the process.
So there it is, get into your musical device of your choice, line up a playlist and get your fill of the bizarre with these, the 6 weirdest King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard tracks.