Using King Gizzard and also the Lizard Wizard’s “Work This Time” to demonstrate how to listen to music with a crucial ear


Oddments Cover arts by Jason Galea

“How the hell go they perform that?” my bewildered Intro to recording professor exclaims together smooth lo-fi drums attract in the sweet yet somber melody the King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s “Work This Time”. This was the second class we had specialized solely to listening come and evaluating music that students chose. Countless students brought in short article Malone or Ed Sheeran tracks, songs that utilize necessary recording techniques, but nothing nearly as amazing as the intricacy the “Work This Time”, proven by the professor’s response.

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What renders this monitor so confusing? What techniques do King Gizzard and the Lizard wizard employ that other artists do not? how do they foster together a specific, melancholy mood? these questions can only it is in answered through crucial listening.

The process of critical listening, the act of picking apart every little detail that a track or album in bespeak to develop a deep expertise of it as a language, is going come be various from person to person. That being said, there are certain things to think around while listening come music critically.

Perhaps the most vital thing is finding a constructive setting to listen in. For me, this means stowing away in my bedroom v the lamp off, noise cancelling headphones on, eye closed. I, personally, should drown the remainder of the human being out in order to let the music in. Other human being listen come music while eating or working out (in fact, Rachel Ament the The Paris Review says that movement might be a key to enhancing our perception of music), however the essential thing is that what you are doing does not distract indigenous paying attention to the tune or album in ~ hand; just like listening come people, you require to offer music her focus.

After setting is figured out, plug in and also begin listening. Ns recommend making use of a high fidelity speaker/headphones or, even better, listening to vinyl in order come hear every detail of the music. Because that this listening of “Work This Time”, i am utilizing Polk model T15 speakers.

Once the music starts, pay attention to the color of the track. Anastasia Tsioulcas the NPR states that color is the means instruments “lend a very certain mood come the music.” In other words, think about how each instrument is mixed and how lock sound in relation to one another in order to develop a feeling.

This “mood” is obvious instantly in “Work This Time”, v metallic north leading into a muted guitar chord pattern. What is unique about these instruments is the absence of low-end. Even the bass, which come in in ~ 0:27, has actually its low-end reduced out, do it an ext of a countermelody 보다 a base line. This create space, leaving the listener yearning because that more, following the lyrical themes of not being enough in a relationship.

Thinking an ext about space, panning is an additional element to consider, which, in this track, offers it the“What the hell?” aspect that left my professor mind-boggled.

Pay unique attention come the drums.

Every roll and break is split up between left and right in quick succession. Just how did they execute that? after ~ class, my professor and I spent a good chunk of time hypothesizing just how King Gizzard accomplishes this, however we can not think of a feasible explanation of how they got the panning for this reason clean. The hits of the drum room too close to one another to pan left and right for this reason quickly and meticulously. It might sound minimal, however for a producer, this drum component is a finish mystery.

In fact, the wasn’t till a year and a half later that ns finally identified how they did it as soon as I observed them live in ~ The Riverside Theatre in Milwaukee. The answer was so simple, however so unconventional: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard use two drummers on two different sets. This way, they are able to document a drum part that is fully synced up on two mics in ~ the very same time, thus allowing them come pan the north without any weird interferences.

Bear with me, I understand that could be confusing, but it all ties earlier to understanding the music more critically. The use of two drums going earlier and soon goes improves the theme of the whole song. Lock are basically talking come one another, a relationship between the two drum sets that shows the gloomy context of a struggling relationship. This is simply one way that apartment on tiny details can broaden the language of the music.

Finally take into consideration the rhythm and tempo of the music. “Work This Time” is lethargic, with a soft emphasis on the downbeat of every bar. This offer to do the track feel lot slower than the 114 BPM it is, mathematically making the a 4 minutes 1 of the tempo. Every downbeat reflects the singer’s strife to organize onto this relationship, fleeting far from him slowly but surely.

There is a lot an ext at play in this track, yet I have to refrain from turning this article into a novel. The significant takeaway is that an important listening counts on paying fist to the tiny details. Yes, the melody is important, the text matter, however how perform the undertones of the track serve to boost that?

Thinking about tempo, rhythm, panning, and an are are simply some the the points to choose apart on any kind of given project. Friend can emphasis on anything, indigenous ornamentation to vocal delivery, what matters most is the you’re showing on that purpose. Again, listening is a subjective act, therefore the best method to perform it comes under to the individual.

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In the end, an essential listening is just asking questions. Proceed to think of listening come music choose listening to people; ask questions to learn much more and put the smaller sized details into the paper definition of the person. This way, you can engage with music as a item of art and grapple v its message to far better understand how particular things deserve to only be said through the language that music.

*If you had a hard time analysis this short article because that the terminology, refer to our guide for beginner at