wed 24/07/2024

CD: Morgan Delt - Phase Zero | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Morgan Delt - Phase Zero

CD: Morgan Delt - Phase Zero

A muzzy, Sixties-influenced trip to inner space

Morgan Delt's 'Phase Zero': zonked out

In 1966, David Warner assumed the title role in Karel Reisz’s satire Morgan – A Suitable Case for Treatment. The film’s Morgan Delt was a fantasist with a communist family background married to the posh Leonie, played by Vanessa Redgrave. When she seeks a divorce, he campaigns to win her back but ends up in an asylum where she reveals she is pregnant with his child. As a depiction of class clashes, thwarted aspirations and unmediated behaviour, it was a very Sixties confection.

Phase Zero is the second album by a California native who has assumed the name Morgan Delt. Fittingly, it is shot-through with a Sixties ambiance despite being very much a cross-stylistic product of now. Where its 2014 eponymous predecessor was fuzzy and hard to grasp, the new album is relatively focused. Though on a line between Ariel Pink and Olivia Tremor Control, it nods to The Byrds of Notorious Byrd Brothers, the Curt Boettcher vehicles Sagittarius and The Millennium and Zuckerzeit Cluster. Anyone familiar with the Sun Dial will be floored by Phase Zero’s evocation of their first album, No Way Out. Delt’s voice is a defeated sigh, mixed back in a wash of fluttering guitar arpeggios, plangent bass guitar, wobbly keyboards and a white noise which phases in and out. The themes of the entirely self-recorded Phase Zero appear to be disassociation, loss of self, low self-esteem and a yearning for escape.

This heady brew is not immediate. “Mssr. Monster” centres on chanting and a Can-like bass pattern. It has a paranoid urgency but the distance with which everything is presented suggests imminent surrender to the void. “The Lowest of the Low” takes it even further into inner space as Delt melts into a fug of echoing keyboards, muffled drums and spacey noise. The zonked-out Phase Zero could easily be on repeat within the head of David Warner’s asylum-ensconced Morgan Delt.

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