Musicians on Album: King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard - Stu Mackenzie, Michael Cavanagh, Cook Craig, Lucas Skinner, Joey Walker, Ambrose Kenny-Smith and Eric Moore. (Please see end of Spin for instruments used on album)
Mild High Club - Alex Brettin, Andrew Burt
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard (with Mild High Club) : Sketches of Brunswick East Year Released : 2017 Produced by Stu Mackenzie Label: Flightless / ATO / Heavenly Price Range: $50+AUD Speed: 33 1/3RPM Album Before : Murder Of The Universe (2017) Album After : Polygondwanaland (2017) Further Listening : Absolutely anything else from King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard LP : 1 x 200 gram Black LP
Mood for enjoying: I've had this record on whilst doing the dishes and jamming out (which made the washing feel a lot quicker thanks to good tunes). If you enjoy a quiet drink in front of your Netflix fireplace, then this one is for you. Track Listing:
LP Side A
Sketches of Brunswick East I - 1:20
Countdown - 3:22
D-Day - 1:38
Tezeta - 3:30
Cranes, Planes, Migraines - 1:15
The Spider and Me - 3:16
Sketches of Brunswick East II - 3:26
Side B Dusk to Dawn on Lygon Street - 3:02
The Book - 5:00
A Journey to (S)hell - 2:16
Rolling Stoned - 3:18
You Can Be Your Silhouette - 3:48
Sketches of Brunswick East III - 2:08
What's in the Sleeve ? 1 x 200gram black LP with lyrics on record inner sleeve. Slightly rough texture on parts of the jacket and inner sleeve.
"When you make time to clear the cobwebs off your mind. You may find yourself unwind" ~ You Can Be Your Silhouette - Side B
Welcome to Spin #23 - King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard (with Mild High Club) - Sketches of Brunswick East
Attention all of you Gizzheads! Welcome to this weeks spin, Sketches of Brunswick East by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard & Mild High Club. This is a collaborative effort by the boys from Melbourne and the boys from the States. If you like easy listening records that are a nice mixture of instrumentals and songs, then this one is going to be right up your alley. KGATLW are paying homage to the album by Miles Davis, 'Sketches of Spain' and were heavily inspired by the jazz tones whilst creating this weeks Spin.
I remember the first album that I listened to by KGATLW and that was 'Flying Microtonal Banana' (thanks Jazz). At first listen, I was instantly hooked and it became a bit of a pilgrimage for my friend and I to collect all of their albums released in 2017. Can you believe that these guys were able to release 5 albums in one year! I bet that you are saying to yourselves , "But are they good?". Short answer is yes, yes they are. What makes it more impressive is that they are all very different in style, which makes them so intriguing. Currently KGATLW have 20 studio albums and this weeks Spin is their 11th. I haven't had a chance to listen to any of Mild High Clubs studio albums other than their effort with KGATLW but they are a band on my list to get into.
From left to right: Eric Moore, (Top) Michael Cavanagh, Cook Craig, Alex Brettin, Joey Walker. (Bottom) Ambrose Kenny-Smith, Lucas Skinner and Stu Mackenzie.
For this weeks record I have chosen to spin on our loungeroom set up - Sherwood turntable (PM-9805) and Sherwood Receiver (RX-4508), complimented by 4 x Sherwood bookshelf speakers, which are spaced evenly across our loungeroom area. It's very relaxing to be able to sit back and listen to this record next to my wife, Night Kat Kiz.
Drop the Needle (of course means place the stylus nicely on your wax):
As I place the record onto the turntable, I look up to see the television above the unit showing a very cozy crackling fire. During the colder nights we have been putting on the Netflix fireplace to provide the illusion of having a fire place in our loungeroom, adding to the relaxing feel of this record. Our oil heater keeps the room nice and toasty without having the smell of smoke so it is a win-win. The stylus is placed on the outer grooves and the first sounds of the very laid back sounding instrumental, 'Sketches of Brunswick East I'. The first thing that I noticed when I held this piece of wax in my hands was the weight of it - 200gram!
This was the first King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard (KGATLW) record that I purchased so I thought it was fitting to choose this one. The instrumental is split up into three parts and this piece of music does a nice job to casually invite the listener into their world. Across this album I have listed instruments used and it is really impressive how talented these musicians are. I am trying to think of a record that uses as many instruments and if you can think of one, please list it in the comments below or on our social pages. The good thing is that I have researched a lot of unusual instruments now because of this record. No matter how different KGATLW albums may sound, they still always seem to have a distinct moment where I say, "That's them".
'Countdown' begins with the ethereal sounds of Stu Mackenzie's vocals that are different to what I'm used to hearing from this band. It reminds me of another song when Mackenzie sings "When it all falls away". I really enjoy the slowness of this song and feel my shoulders relaxing as I look up at the fireplace crackling away on the television. Sometimes all you need is small moments to relax. Before listening to this song I had no idea what a Mellotron was so I have included a link here. I love how this album flows seamlessly into the next track without skipping a beat and I can notice the level of time and care that has gone into this record and it shows.
The third track, 'D-Day' is another instrumental showcase of KGATLW/MHC flexing their musical ability and with the talent they all have, why not? The seamless transitions between songs make it tricky to pick up where one track starts and one ends if you're not paying attention. The microtonal sounds return after making their debut on previous album, 'Flying Microtonal Banana'. Another instrument used on the one is the Optigan. No idea what that was before looking it up online. There are moments that sound like creepy carnival clown music towards end of song and this instrumental really fits well between 'Countdown' and 'Tezeta'.
Next up is 'Tezeta', which has a large number of players on this song and even the use of a glass marimba (Yep, a giant xylophone with glass panels). The flute playing by Mackenzie meshes well with the electric piano of Lucas Skinner, adding such a lighter sound to this record compared to the previous effort by the boys (see album 'Murder of the Universe'). This song, in parts, feels like it could be used in a late 60's /early 70's movie soundtrack for a location shot. I do love the use of the double drum kit of Eric Moore and Cavs and it is a shame that they only have Cavs in the band now as two drumkits was killer. Also if you were wondering what the title, 'Tezeta' means (like I was), it means memory or longing to remember something.
The next piece of music is the heavy bassline driven, 'Cranes, Planes, Migraines'. You feel like your going through a tunnel in some parts of this song with the sound effects before you appear on the other side of that said tunnel with the cheery sounding second last track on Side A - 'The Spider and Me'. It has very upbeat lyrics, "All day we'll sit about giggling free, under the tree, the spider and me". There are bird sounds which make you feel like your outside listening without a care in the world. It's only when I open my eyes and look up at the fireplace on the television, that I realise where I am. I look across at Night Kat Kiz and see that she is enjoying this one. There is a similar vocal sound all the way through by Mackenzie and he is supported by Ambrose Kenny-Smith for this track. Towards the end of the song they have used the Mellotron again to add a slowdown warped sound that flows into the start of 'Sketches of Brunswick East II'. One of the hottest bands on the scene right now with a cult following and with Side A out of the way, it is easy to see why. I would have to research just how much input MHC had in the making of this record but they seem to mesh their creativity and styles well.
The end of Side A is with another instrumental piece and second part of the beginning of this record, 'Sketches of Brunswick East II'. KGATLW/MHC have really taken their direction on this one from Pink Floyd in making the whole experience seem like one giant song. As the tonearm moves towards the label, I can honestly say that this is one of my all time favourite Aussie albums and a must for fans of the band. Time to flip over the LP to Side B and hit the play button.
We have freshened up our drinks and snuggled back into the lounge, ready to listen to the smooth sounding Side B of 'Sketches of Brunswick East'. The first song on Side B is 'Dusk to Dawn on Lygon Street'. It starts with an Eastern sound, similar to Dave Brubeck's 1964 album, 'Jazz Impressions of Japan'. If you have not experienced that fine piece of jazz then I highly recommend that you find a copy. There is a real sense of visualising someone walking down Lygon street, enjoying the sounds of the night. From what I can see it is also a rare song that is not sung by Mackenzie, but instead sung by Cook Craig. I was very intrigued by the sound of the fretless bass guitar played by Craig and the Vibraslap played by Cavs.
If you were thinking that this LP was flowing along without a standout odd song then look no further than the live favourite, 'The Book'. Also another instrument for you all to research is the microtonal organ! Cavs keeps the timing well using two different drum kits (even though that actually have two drummers in the band). There is a trippy start that sounds like a 90's haunted house in parts and Mackenzie makes a return back on the vocals. It really makes me think of watching a show like The Munsters or Addams family. There are also a few dark lyrics , especially towards the end of the song. One of the better lyrics in this song is "So judge me by the page, but not by my cover. You'll learn more with age, like it or not I live by the book". 'The Book' has that different sound compared to the what we have listened to so far.
Instantly, when the next song begins you feel as if you are riding each chord of Joey Walker's bass in a descending manner - 'A Journey to (S)hell'. Not sure if they mean the service station or fiery hell but it takes you on a journey somewhere whilst listening along to this instrumental. Mackenzie has the sound of the synth acting like a siren and the harmonica by Kenny-Smith fits well on this one. Now that KGATLW's album 'Omnium Gatherum' has been released, I can see the link between this and 'Sadie Sorceress'. Towards the end it feels like everything just slows down and you really are going on a journey to the next part of the record. Also worth checking out is Kenny-Smith and Craig's other band, 'The Murlocs'.
The song is cut short and almost like film is coming off the spindle, and 'Rolling Stoned' begins. 'Rolling Stoned' is written by MHC's Alex Brettin and shows off another instrument used nicely here in the Omnichord. Completely different feeling and tempo to the previous track that brings back the calmness to this listening experience. Pleasant sounding piece of music that makes maracas, bongs and wah wah guitar sound so natural.
My favourite song on this album is 'You Can Be Your Silhouette'. The acoustic guitar and Guiro set the mood and makes this one such an enjoyable listen. I am just looking around the loungeroom and soaking up this one. "When you make time, to clear the cobwebs off your mind. You may find yourself unwind. When all the ticking stopes dead, you may find more time instead and you can be your silhouette". The tape sound speeds up and brings us to the last track and final part to the instrumental trilogy, 'Sketches of Brunswick East III'. Slightly slower compared to the parts I and II but still a nice track that ends this album.
I promised before that I would list the instruments used on this album so here we go:
Acoustic piano, bass guitar, electric piano, flute, drum kit, snare brushes, maracas, floor tom, vibraslap, bongos, electric guitar, synthesiser, wah wah guitar, mellotron, optigan, microtonal guitar, microtonal bass guitar, shaker, tambourine, organ, glass marimbas, microtonal synthesiser, cowbell, harmonica, electronic drum kit, fretless bass guitar, tambourine and guiro. I probably missed a couple but that is impressive.
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard have have had such a prolific decade and have already promised three more albums for the remainder of 2022! If they keep this up I will have to have a separate room with storage just for this bands catalogue. If you enjoyed this weeks spin, let us know in the comments below or over on our social pages and enjoy the remainder of your weekend.
Until our next Spin, be Kind to multi-instrumental musicians and be Kind to your Wax!