New phases are the unseen forces of life. In persons, in movements, they are the quietly unfolding moments and soul detritus that build momentum over time, only revealed as a crescent of new being. That's the poetry of a new moon, a solar body that exists, but is invisible to the unaided eye, and only rarely illuminated by an eclipse.
Like rivers and town names, the sun and moon have become constants in the thematic titles of Daniel Bachman's instrumental guitar music. Not to put too fine a point on it, but these places on earth and in outer space tend to signify a shift in Bachman's being — of wanderlust, of desperation, of joy and revelry.
"New Moon" closes The Morning Star, Bachman's new record coming in the swamp of summer. If you've had the opportunity to see him perform lately, it's the long and winding composition that's closed many of his live sets.
On record, you can hear a field recording of cicadas and Bachman sigh over an organ drone, his acoustic guitar bending and sliding ever so quietly as not to disturb the fragility of the empty night. As the drone subsides, a melody emerges from finger-picking that responds to the tide of emotion: tentative one moment, fervid the next, felt deeply in the close-mic'd guitar that dips into the red, but never stays there. Two years ago, he might have barreled into a sound with whisky-soaked vigor, but here Bachman keeps to the corners of "New Moon," ushering his next phase.
The Morning Star comes out July 27 via Three Lobed Recordings.