Daniel Bachman’s The Morning Star is like an aural, musical translation of the many vibrations moving through the air of modern America.
From moments of radiant, rural tranquility to chaotic blasts of near-violent noise, Bachman pairs his masterful American Primitive guitar playing with a cornucopia of drones and sonic experimentation in a way that is as striking as it is mesmerizing.
The record is heavily built around the sound of the space that the music is recorded in. Throughout the entire album, the acoustic guitar is played with significant amounts of syncopation, allowing for the tangled notes to reverberate and soak into the room around Bachman, giving both a sense of solitude and meditation. Additionally, the music is often accompanied by the sounds of insects, birds and passing vehicles, which helps to make Bachman’s intricate picking feel like it is an extension of the natural soundscape of the outside world.
Most of the songs here are long, sprawling pieces with a variety of movements, and the majority of these songs maintain a peaceful tone, like the elegant “Sycamore City,” which sounds as serene as a warm recollection of better days gone past. Meanwhile other tracks like “Invocation” and “Car,” are like sculptures of warped, disturbed sounds, twisted by cold technology and stripped of anything resembling nature by cruel hands.
Through the low rumbling drones and meticulous thickets of rustic guitar, Bachman perfectly captures the tension and the hope that have been floating freely through the atmosphere of the last few years. To say the least, The Morning Star is a hauntingly beautiful and very timely, very relatable record. Be sure to grab this double album on next week (or preorder) on vinyl, CD or digital from Three Lobed Records or Bachman’s Bandcamp page.