1000 Albums Project

ALBUM 203

Morgan Delt, by Morgan Delt
Suggested by Stuart Emerson

Morgan Delt is a recluse.

According to his limited press, this homegrown psychedelic musician resides in a shack in the Californian hills, creating his signature experimental drugged-out heavy-reverbed pop sound in his own sweet time. His career has blossomed later than most in the industry, but as he’s only in his mid-thirties the only thing this fact does is make me feel profoundly sad.

His self-titled debut album is a fulsome gift of jangling ambient pop, a fractured mosaic of addled sounds and sources that embraces a transient, amorphous soup of psychedelia. At times it’s beautiful, but at others it’s profoundly irritating. It floats by, with its high and cultured vocal whining like a droning insect, while the varied instrumentation flowers around it like a tulip farm at a seasonal peak.

D’you know who else was a recluse? The Unabomber.

In a sense, Morgan Delt the album is the artist’s musical manifesto, and it’s every bit as rambling and inaccessible as Ted Kaczynski’s own. It’s formless and ramshackle, especially in the opener Make My Grey Brain Green. Chakra Sharks buzzes and stabs with its chittering guitars, while Sad Sad Trip sounds like Sparks narrating the slow death of a ticking clock while shaking a maraca with one hand and pushing a robot down the stairs with the other. Even my standout track Barbarian Kings feels disconnected from reality, with its Eels-like echo amid a jumble of Westernised spaghetti.

Do you know who else was a recluse? Stanley Kubrick.

Like Kubrick, Morgan Delt is an Artist with a capital A. His lifestyle requires he succumb to the glacial whim of his muse, serving ample tinker-time to build each track to a personal sense of perfection. Just like Kubrick, things aren’t finished until they’re correct, to a very singular definition of the word. While the vocal might lead you to think there’s a sense of ambient hippy-dippy chic at the core of this album, withal the plinks and plonks and godawful soundscapes those terrors entail, this is not something you can level at Mr Delt. He’s now one to see the beauty in emptiness, and there’s always something to hear, some new intrigue or paradiddle to dissect and devour.

As the album concludes, I find myself at a crossroads. To the left is a quantifiable sense of enjoyment, springing from the preening beauty of meticulously shaped and shiny craftsmanship. To the right is an ugly gash of impatience and irritation, bellowing its indignation at the gelatinous blob of jangle-spangle puffery being spaffed from the artist’s jowled and gaping maw. As for scores? Well, they say you lean further to the right as you grow older, so the nays have it this time out. Morgan Delt gets 4/10.

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