Video: Big Black Delta, ‘Summoner’

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Big Black Delta (Photo by Josh Giroux)

Big Black Delta — aka Jonathan Bates — has returned with his first original since 2017, and a riveting piece of cinema to go along with it.

“Summoner” is a four-part, six-minute suite that transforms from a warped lullaby into a dirty banger. The short film, directed by Warren Kommers and Nina McNeely and featuring a ghastly apparition in the sky (Catherine Cooper), the victim (Kommers) of a gruesome crime and a trio of dancers (McNeely, Allison Fletcher and Nadine Olmo), is shot in grainy black-and-white, as if it were haphazardly captured surveillance footage. Or the hallucination of someone left to die in the desert.

Bates explains its inspiration: “It’s a bit foggy, but I remember drunkenly watching “Flight Of The Navigator” one morning and I wanted to make a song that made me feel what I felt at that moment. I’d been up since 1 a.m. drinking. The sun was coming up. It was super orange because booze does that to my eyesight. The movie provided the nostalgia and the feeling of flying (when the protagonist figures out how to fly the spaceship). That’s why that woozy synth comes in and out in the chorus. At the same time, it was medieval and witchy sounding. Like something you would play to summon a demon. Or daemon depending on how thick your neck beard is.”

In Kommers and McNeely, Bates found collaborators who saw his vision and ran with it.  “I was lucky enough to get into a room with these two after I finished the latest Big Black Delta record,” he says. “Whenever the three of us convene on a project, it always ends up in another dimension. As we were working on what originally was going to be a dance video where Nina just rips, Warren began developing a narrative and computer technique to make this one of the most frightening things I’ve ever seen, let alone be a part of. After a lot of trial and error, and Warren essentially hot-rodding current laptop technology, we ended up with something we’re all incredibly stoked on.”

The arrival of “Summoner” follows Big Black Delta’s release of a split single — called “Quid Pro Quo” — with L.A. indie-rockers Sego. It featured BBD reshaping the Sego single “Shame,” along with Sego covering the 2013 Big Black Delta Jam “Into the Night.” It’s available on a translucent flexi-disc.

||| Watch: The video for “Summoner Pts. 1-4”

||| Also: Stream the “Quid Pro Quo” singles