In the past few years, I have sat on two different living room floors and watched the Virginia acoustic-guitar virtuoso Daniel Bachman play two sets of beautiful, folky reveries. Generally, Bachman’s music builds on the neo-traditionalist instrumental music of fellow folk travelers like John Fahey and Jack Rose. So it’s striking to hear a new Bachman album that gets away from that style, into the territory of disorienting and apocalyptic drone.
Today, Bachman follows his 2018 double album The Morning Star with the new double LP Axacan. Bachman’s music is still instrumental, and he’s still playing acoustic guitar, as well as harmonium. But on Axacan, Bachman combines those instruments with ominous and layered field-recording sounds. Often, his tracks work as dark, extended mood pieces, like the immersive 17-minute zone-out “Blue Ocean 0.” Bachman’s music used to be soothing, and sometimes it still is. But much of Axacan is something else.
Axacan is out now on Three Lobed Recordings.