Morgan Delt

Phase Zero

Written by: BV on 24/10/2016 16:45:27

I might have to admit that, in the past, I probably dismissed Morgan Delt far too easily. Initially unimpressed by his self-titled debut-album, it would take me more than three years to fully understand what was actually going on all over that album. From tracks like “Barbarian Kings” to “Sad Sad Kings”, I gained what I would call a greater appreciation for the musical universe Morgan Delt was clearly trying to craft with the means he had available. Since eventually falling in love with the debut, my wait for a follow-up has (for better or worse) been relatively short. In August of this year, the sophomore effort “Phase Zero” finally dropped, and the title may carry more relevance than you’d have anticipated.

On tracks like “I don’t Wanna See What’s Happening Outside” and “Another Person”, Morgan Delt’s recording technique and songwriting as a whole has taken a dramatic towards a more direct and polished sound. “Barbarian Kings” had a murky, underdeveloped edge to it which was evidently part of its charm. Now, it would seem, the sounds found on “Phase Zero” take quite a lot more influence from other DIY-recording artists like Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker or even Ian Skelly – DIY doesn’t have to mean murky, and murky doesn’t mean DIY. Although the sounds may be more pristine, it does nothing to change the fact that Morgan Delt’s musical approach and thinking may be kind of warped compared to the general consensus on what to do and how to do it. Thusly, “Another Person” ends with a strange, seemingly out-of-place audio collage which eventually makes way for the massive array of sounds bombarding the listener at a relatively high pace in the following track “Sun Powers” – a track which I might add has a certain schizophrenic feel to it, with the sheer multitude of directions it seems to be going, essentially changing its whole vibe every thirty seconds or so.

“A Gun Appears” is strangely mellow when comparing it to much of the album in general. The hushed vocals and ‘sparse’ instrumentation makes it seem somewhat intimate and sort of half-baked, bringing me to wonder if the reason that most of this album seems so in-your-face is because there’s simply too much going on? I mean, Morgan Delt has seemingly always had a fascination with using contrasting elements in songs and developing relatively intricate arrangements around somewhat strange patterns of music, but it seems that there is actually a limit as to how much can and should go on in a specific track. In many ways “A Gun Appears” certainly comes off as a well-needed rest after the sensory overload delivered by the preceding tracks.

So what do I actually think about this particular album? Well, for starters I feel it necessary to point out that the self-titled debut needed quite a lot of time to grow on me and I suspect the same might be the case with “Phase Zero”. Nonetheless there is a distinct vibe of immediacy going on in most of the tracks where you can get into them instantaneously. At the same time, however, those few tracks also have a tendency to be tiresome in the long run when exposed to them too frequently. In essence, I find it refreshing that Morgan Delt is shaking things up and trying other ideas and ways of creating, producing and recording. In due time, this will definitely help in creating the beast of an album I have a hunch we might get at some point in the future. For now, “Phase Zero” will also do.

Download: I Don’t Wanna See What’s Happening Outside, A Gun Appears
For The Fans Of: Tame Impala, Ian Skelly, Jacco Gardner

Release date 26.08.2016
Sub Pop

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