Morgan Delt, Mass Gothic, Heaven's Gateway, Drugs | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Morgan Delt, Mass Gothic, Heaven's Gateway, Drugs Recommended Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard Image

When: Wed., Sept. 14, 9 p.m. 2016

On his terrific new album Phase Zero (Sub Pop) bedroom-psych merchant Morgan Delt counters his bleak vision of the planet with gorgeous melodies that billow forth from a patchwork of fuzzy and gauzy sounds, all of which he creates himself. He cut every track in his home studio in Topanga Canyon, and according to the opener, “I Don’t Wanna See What’s Happening Outside,” he seems perfectly content to remain holed up there—in fact, many of the songs imagine the world falling apart from the thoughtlessness of mankind. On “Sun Powers” the titular subject seems like a positive force at first but ends up “disintegrating everything that’s in its way,” while during “Escape Capsule” Delt apologizes to the inheritors of earth: “We will destroy all the life on the planet before we admit that our life is insane.” While there’s more than a touch of off-the-grid paranoia coursing through the record, it’s hard to argue with Delt’s vision of a world gone mad. His songs provide a soothing respite from the chaos, with layers of guitars, keyboards, and sweet vocals threaded together to create a rich, kaleidoscopic fabric, one in which no single ingredient dominates—even the drums are flattened to be on sonic par with every guitar note. Though the music isn’t as dark as the more acid-flavored eponymous album he dropped on local label Trouble in Mind in 2012, Phase Zero still seems inspired by any number of nightmarish psychedelic 70s film scores, and the disjunction between Delt’s words and melodies feels greater and more desperate—with that tension giving the music a hidden power.

Peter Margasak

Price: $10

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