Daniel Bachman - The Morning Star LP
Label: Three Lobed
The very act of change is a natural state. Just as order seeks disorder and high and low concentrations seek equilibrium, musicians, like all other humans, are not immune from these transitional forces. For the musician, change occurs if and as their art is to evolve. Sometimes it takes the form of a conscious choice and other times it is an act dictated by outside forces. In those rare and inspired instances, a musicians changes represent an evolution in their craft. Daniel Bachmans The Morning Star in one of these moments and is the complex, seemingly timeless, and beautiful album that we all need now more than ever.
The album begins with the side-long Invocation which is reminiscent of the two drone-focused variations on Brightleaf Blues from Bachman's 2016 self-titled album. Its placement here is a statement of intent, a break from the exacting studio sounds of his two most recent albums. Sycamore City is replete with the sounds of insects, vehicles, and a summer rain storm. Song for the Setting Sun III and Song for the Setting Sun IV thematically return The Morning Star to two of the centerpiece tracks from 2015s River. III starts deliberately and gains steams as it progresses to a Fahey-conversant midpoint before transitioning back to a variation on the songs original structure. The track that demonstrates how far Bachmans compositional skills have progressed from his earliest recordings. IV shares that same confidence, punctuating its long run with slides, a deliberate performance, and field recordings of frogs, crickets and other nocturnal fauna. The Morning Star pulls matters to a close with the epic New Moon. Underpinned by an organ drone, Bachman slowly unspools a pensive and breathtaking performance of a truly gorgeous and moving composition. Tempos change and the drone eventually fades away, leaving only Bachman's emotive guitar as the track slows to a conclusion.