Formed back in 2010, the acclaimed, genre-defying Aussie psych rock and JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard — Stu Mackenzie (vocals/guitar), Ambrose Kenny-Smith (harmonica/vocals/keyboards), Cook Craig (guitar/vocals), Joey Walker (guitar/vocals), Lucas Skinner (bass) and Michael Cavanagh (drums).– have developed and maintained a long-held reputation for being a restlessly experimental and prolific act that has released boundary using material that has drawn from psych rock, heavy metal, thrash metal, thrash punk, prog rock and Turkish pop.
The JOVM mainstays’ 16th album K.G. is a collection of songs that was written and recorded remotely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the new and very different recording approach, K.G.’s songs were pieced together and given space to breathe, which allowed the music to be entire free. “It’s almost like an album that normal people make,” the band’s Stu Mackenzie laughs “Almost…”
K.G.’s material can trace some of its origins to their critically acclaimed 2017 effort Flying Microtonal Banana, which marked the first of five albums released that year. That album was written and recorded using a Turkish-inspired microtonal musical scale that required quarter tone tunings — and custom-made instruments for the occasion. While featuring live favorites like “Rattlesnake,” “Sleep Drifter,” “Nuclear Fusion” and “Billabong Valley,” Flying Microtonal Banana revealed a band that paints from a palette that extends past the prototypical sounds and tones of Western music.
“FMB was one of the purest and most enjoyable recording experiences we’ve had, and the ideas just kept coming” Mackenzie explains. “But we didn’t think we would play it live as the music dictated a new medium that requires different instruments, new flight cases and so. It was a liberating studio-based experiment which surprisingly translated seamlessly and spawned some of favourite songs to play live.” Interestingly. K.G. finds the Aussie JOVM mainstays returning to the microtonal tunings heard on Flying Microtonal Banana but while cherry picking the best aspects of their previous work and contorting them into new shapes with non-Western musical scales.
Interestingly, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s 16th album is simultaneously a stand-alone work and part of a bigger musical picture. The albums often feature motifs and ideas that may have appeared several albums previously, suddenly rearing their heads in a completely new way. And odds are we’ll likely see even more news on what’s to come. But in meantime, K.G.’s latest single, the hypnotic, house music freak out, “Intrasport” finds the Aussie JOVM mainstays heading to the dance floor — yes, seriously! — with a track centered around thumping beats, shimmering Casio-like synth arpeggios, an infectious hook and a club banging breakdown. Because of the micro tuning, “Intrasport” manages to sound as though it were inspired by the likes of JOVM mainstay Omar Souleyman — but with a mischievous and trippy air.
Directed, edited and shot by John Angus Stewart, the recently released video features the members of King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard at a party at an impossibly small apartment. But we see the members of the band moving in a Matrix-like slow motion — while others kind of move normally. It’s trippy as fuck. “The clip was shot in my tiny studio apartment,” John Angus Stewart says. “For the main reason that it’s the smallest place I know that someone lives in. The aim was to find the 50/50 split: feeling lonely at a party but surrounded by people. Feeling like you are the only one there and that nobody really understands you (but you still have to bring it). I used 35mm anamorphic to give the small space as much panoramic effect as I could muster. Sometimes the smallest of spaces feel huge when you are partying, why do you think everyone always gathers in the kitchen or bathroom?”