On the 24th of February, 2017, Australian Psychedelic Rock outfit King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard followed up their previous release, “Nonagon Infinity,” with the arguably more experimental “Flying Microtonal Banana.” King Gizzard is no stranger to musical experimentation. Nonagon Infinity is 9 tracks that loop continuously, so that no matter where you start you can continue listening. “Flying Microtonal Banana” is an experiment with microtonal instruments to stray away from conventional musical patterns, but not so much that the music is unlistenable. In this endeavour, they succeed on the highest levels.
The album starts off with the song “Rattlesnake” which, as one would expect, is about a rattlesnake. But in the song, vocalist Stu Mackenzie takes the perspective of the rattlesnake, and halfway through the song starts telling a riveting poem about being the “Devil’s agent” and “making you cry like a baby.” The microtonal scale only serves to amplify the tired, weary feeling of being in the desert and encountering a rattlesnake. The album is full of dark, interesting stories, like “Open Water,” which tells the story of a man who has accepted his fate of dying at sea, where “The Kraken’s got the best of me this time.” The vocals being in sync with the microtonal guitar create a hypnotic feeling that puts you in a trance unlike any other.
The album is not without its positive moments, however. “Sleep Drifter” is a song about how the person being love with someone and “falling in and out of sleep.” The character is in a long distance relationship of some sort, and is doing some kind of lucid dreaming or acid trip to be with their loved one who is in a “hotel far away.” The song is called “Sleep Drifter,” so it can be assumed that there is some sort of spiritual connection the characters are having whilst lucid dreaming.
“Doom City” shows King Gizzard pay homage to their contemporaries and influences, namely Black Sabbath, maybe intentionally or maybe unintentionally. The fast paced guitar riffs and drums lead into a slower, more destructive, sludgy guitar riff with exotic horror noises and microtonal harmonicas that will give the toughest man nightmares. The following track, “Nuclear Fusion” sort of offsets the intense feeling of impending doom with an almost funky rhythm and beat. The drums play a simple pattern, while the guitar rarely strays far from one note, but it just sounds so perfect and groovy.
The album closes with the title track, “Flying Microtonal Banana,” a 2 and a half minute long instrumental. If you listened to the whole album until this point, it should come as no surprise that the human mind is not meant to stay intact through the end of this song. The hectic harmonica leads the rhythm over an unorthodox drum kit. At some points, one would even say there are two harmonicas playing. This song would probably be best experienced while high on some narcotic, but we over at Phantomwork, do not condone the usage of any narcotics whatsoever.
At the end of the day, King Gizzard continues their streak of mind-boggling projects with brilliance. A very solid album, but also a very fluid album.