Big Black Delta: Tragame Tierra (Vinyl LP)

Big Black Delta: Tragame Tierra (Vinyl LP)

Masters of Bates

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Double vinyl LP pressing. 2016 release. First the facts. Big Black Delta is Jonathan Bates. And Jonathan Bates is Big Black Delta. (Although you might occasionally find him elsewhere, like playing guitar with the likes of Brandon Flowers, Brian Wilson, Brit Daniel, and Dhani Harrison during the appropriately named George Harrison celebration, George Fest.) Trágame Tierra is his second album as a solo artist under the moniker. Pinning down a narrative through line? That's a bit harder. He's still offering a larger than life version of himself, strutting through the crackling electronics like a latter-day David Bowie. But now there's more. More icy Scandinavian-leaning beats (Overlord). More near-country acoustic warmth (Well My Heart, which also features a vocal assist from Dhani Harrison). More live instrumentation (see: the clarinet-driven refrain of Strange Cakes, brought to you by Jaga Jazzist's Lars Horntveth). And more odd and often exciting choices that split the difference between 1980s cartoon, underground rave, and voyage to the moon. (Start with Kid Icarus, but realize this statement could apply to the album as a whole). But most of all, it's a multi-layered collection of songs that points back to its creator, caring. Maybe more than anyone. H.A, Steer the Canyon, RCVR Feat. Debbie Gibson, Bitten By the Apple Feat. Kimbra, Kid Icarus, Overlord, Well My Heart, Let's Go Home, It's Ok, Strange Cakes, I See Fit, Tragame Tierra