By Sam Robinson
Not resting on their laurels, Seattle’s Kings Kaleidoscope expanded their vision in 2017, both sonically and visually, and birthed their very first mixtape, The Beauty Between. With two albums under their belt, including our 2016 Album of the Year, Beyond Control, Kings K decided to try something new, collaborating with a bunch of rappers including Andy Mineo, Propaganda and Beautiful Eulogy’s Braille. The result is without a doubt an evolution in sound for the collective, but a clear logical progression from their beats-heavy previous albums.
From the wonky beat of the title track that opens The Beauty Between, to the guest-loaded throwdown rap battle of Alive, the mixtape packs a serious punch. When ringmaster Chad Gardner was in Sydney in January (see video below, with myself, Chad and Zach Bolen), I caught up with him and he told me a mixtape was on the cards, but was a long way from realised. For them to pull this project off in just a few months, is an incredible feat.
Teaming up with longtime collaborator Zach Bolen, Chad Gardner and the band weave the mixtape together seamlessly, from the punchy brassy heights of Sticks and Stones through to the threatening Playing with Fire. The project is a comment on the tensions felt in the Christian life, and also the freedom that is found through grace in Christ Jesus.
The Beauty Between isn’t just a brilliant volume of worship music, but it’s also fiercely independent and DIY. Chad produced and engineered the project himself, and the whole release was DIY. No labels, but completely independent. Teaming up with artist Tobias Gutmann right throughout the creative process, the band have created a feast for the ears and the eyes, as evidenced in the video for the title track.
Kings Kaleidoscope keep improving on every project, and it’s the care, detail and depth of The Beauty Between that has won our writing team’s votes, as well as yours as you voted it Readers’ Album of 2017. Congratulations to Kings Kaleidoscope for The Beauty Between, the 2017 Reel Gospel Album of the Year.
Our writing team’s top five albums of 2017*:
- Kings Kaleidoscope – The Beauty Between
- The Sing Team – Sing On!
- John Mark McMillan – Mercury & Lightning
- Beautiful Eulogy – Worthy
- GAWVI – We Belong
The Beauty Between by Kings Kaleidoscope is available now at kingskaleidoscope.com and on all streaming platforms.
*Albums eligible for votes were those released in Australia between December 1st 2016 and November 30th 2017.