Big Black Delta: Big Black Delta (Masters of Bates) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, May 28th, 2024  

Big Black Delta

Big Black Delta

Masters of Bates

Jun 06, 2013 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Los Angeles-based master of synth, Jonathan Bates, has spent the past decade basically perfecting experimental pop with his band Mellowdrone. Taking a step away from the group, Bates has set out on his own as Big Black Delta, and his debut long play is a formidable collection of fresh material and works previously released only in limited editions.

Typical of Bates’ work, the music is synth-heavy with masterful pop construction (read: incredibly fun and memorable melodies with compelling, sensible arcs), though it never shies away from throwing in a twist. Bates pulls inspiration from pop, rock, dance, industrial, blues, and just about anything else he can work in. Big Black Delta is laden with experimental vocal effects and extended explorationsmost of the tracks top four minutes, two of which top the five-minute mark.

“Side of the Road” works its way through tuneful and percussive verse and then opens up into a simple but catchy chorus, and a new version of “Put the Gun on the Floor,” a previously self-released track, makes use of synthesized backing vocals over what is essentially an EDM piece. In both tracks, Bates heavily warps the pitch of his voice throughout.

One of the most notable tracks on the album, “IFUCKINGLOVEYOU,” which was previously released unmastered, is a driving experimental piece that incorporates the sound of booming symphonic horns, impassioned gospel choir refrains, and distorted instrumentals across the board. It is easily the live wire of the album.

It could be argued that the number of “longer” tracks, owed to Bates’ ever-shrinking attention span and inherently indulgent nature, takes something away from the experience. Whether you define the resulting feeling as closure or weariness, the album leaves you with a lot to think about before hitting repeat. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

Rate this album
Average reader rating: 8/10


Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published


Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

There are no comments for this entry yet.