A modular synthesis, melancholic major scale ethereal masterpiece
Corey Keepence
19:42 11th June 2021

In the height of lockdown last year, Stu Mackenzie of King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard did a meticulous track breakdown of their single ‘Honey’ on KEXP’s ‘Isolated Tracks’ series. "We’re surviving, not thriving" was a quote from that piece that stuck with me throughout the whole of 2020 - largely because despite Stu being across the world over in Melbourne, this phrase still perfectly encapsulated the feelings the majority of the British public had at the time.

In any case, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard are certainly not just ‘surviving’. They are absolutely thriving. Three albums in eight months would leave most artists scraping the bottom of the barrel for an E-side, yet for King Gizz it is almost a chill-out period given the high standards set with the 5 albums smashed out in 2017 alone… and yeah, I know everyone says it, but it deserves repeating because it is an exceptional achievement. Most people could not even remember that many songs let alone perform them live.  

The group all live a stone’s throw from each other in Melbourne, so it must have been incredibly bizarre writing microtonal music isolated from all the other members in a pandemic, but as most fans will know by now: Gizz can indulge in pretty much any concept and execute it seamlessly. 

The latest concept is a 44-minute modular synthesis, melancholic major scale ethereal masterpiece named Butterfly 3000. Yes, yet again they have smashed it. The release of Butterfly 3000 coincides with the release of drummer Michael Cavanagh’s S16mm drum film captured by PHC Films (who also produced the ‘RATTY’ documentary), a masterpiece in its own right. 

One very interesting aspect of Butterfly 3000 is the band’s insistence on retaining the feel of live drums despite working with modular loops; it makes for a very original take on what is undoubtedly Gizz’s most electronic piece of work yet, and if you needed any more evidence of ‘Cavs’ being on a fast-track path to the drumming hall of fame then this week’s releases are it. 

As this is a concept album and written to flow seamlessly, I think it would ruin the piece if I were to go in and analyse each track on a case-by-case basis. You must listen to the album in its entirety and uninterrupted, however some personal highlights are 'Dreams', 'Blue Morpho' and 'Black Hot Soup', the latter of which pays a slight homage to 2017 King Gizz. 

The album is the absolute antithesis of the mindset the public have been feeling in recent times and translates to deliver almost as a remedy to the sour mood felt by so many music fans over the last 12 months.

Overall Butterfly 3000 is a solid 9/10 album, and the only reason I am hesitant to give it an outright 10 is because there’s still a handful of incredible King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard albums released in the last few years that I feel compelled to rank slightly higher...

Butterfly 3000 is out now.

Grab your copy of the Gigwise print magazine here.

Photo: Press