‘Dizzy Spell’, the debut solo album from ARIA award winning critically acclaimed songwriter, Alexander Gow, is quite simply gorgeous. One word repeated by all who listen to it is “beautiful”. And that beauty serves a purpose. It invites the listener in, seduces, and quietly yet confidently demands their attention.
‘Dizzy Spell’ was recorded and produced Alexander Gow and Rohan Sforcina on a 1970s 4-track tape machine in Gow’s formally grand Princes Hill terrace rental. The limitations of this antiquated technology played into Gow’s strengths – musical decoration is absent and all that remains is the core of the songs, which Gow delivers with quiet confidence.
The virtue of necessity is a phrase popularised by Shakespeare in his 1591-ish comedy, ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona’. When committing to a 4-track analogue recording in 2023, for Gow and Sforcina – two gentlemen of Melbourne – the necessity was to keep the recording elementary, and the virtue was the seduction of elementary recordings.
Gow said, “I had written 50 songs during 2022 and a bunch more into 2023. And when I paused, I recognised an intimacy to this collection of work. I hoped to represent that intimacy with an inviting recording, littered with simple but purposeful performances. The opportunity to make this record on a tape machine with limited tracks was too good to refuse. For the tool demanded intimacy.”
‘Dizzy Spell’ features Gow playing acoustic guitar, piano, and bass. ‘Evil’ Graham Lee (The Triffids) contributes pedal steel. Richard Bradbeer provided additional bass guitar work. Pete Luscombe (Paul Kelly) played the drums. Rowena Wise played the fiddle.
‘Dizzy Spell’ is an album out of time, created by a student of the tradition of the singer-songwriter. Recorded in 2023 on 1970s tech. Best consumed in its entirety, it features no obvious radio singles. It ignores the pursuit of instant gratification. Instead, it asks for a modest investment from its audience. And those who invest are thoroughly rewarded with a collection of compelling and original Australian songs.
Alexander Gow is one of Australia’s best and most accomplished songwriters, and ‘Dizzy Spell’ is his best work yet. After releasing his debut album, Oh Mercy‘s ‘Privileged Woes’, in 2009, Gow, now 35, has defied the odds by continuing to build upon his body of work. ‘Dizzy Spell’s confidence and ease suggest Gow has no intention of slowing down. Recently Gow was nominated for a Walkley Award for his part in the AFR coverage of the PwC tax leaks scandal. The award ceremony will be held on November 23.
With thanks to Six Boroughs Media