Dylan Carlson - Conquistador
(Sargent House)

Dylan Carlson and his guitar have gone through many different incarnations and personalities ever since the literal bombshell that was his band Earth's landmark full length Earth 2: Special Low Frequency Edition. Now the granddaddies of guitar driven, heavy drone rock / metal, Earth and Dylan himself have been steadily reinventing their formula over the course of many records. Slow and loud is still the go-to mission, but with a lot more emphasis on uplifting melody, somber moods and a heavy dose of Americana. More like the sound of light shining through the stained glass windows of a beautiful cathedral, as opposed to the building crumbling down. Dylan's newest solo effort, Conquistador, yet again continues this American west fascination. Contextually, it's meant to be the soundtrack of our titular Conquistador, as he travels the ol' southwestern USA. Now, I didn't know that upon first listen, and honestly you might not need to have that knowledge to enjoy the record. It's a very pretty, if not a little by-the-books by Dylan's standards. He definitely sits pretty firmly in his comfort zone here, but that's not to say that the record is dull. Perhaps not very surprising. He does nail the thematic and cinematic mood of the "imaginary western" stories he's puts to his music, and I'm honestly surprised Mr. Carlson hasn't gotten asked to do more scores. Also, the record sits at a pretty scant 35 minutes, hardly the time to make any sort of definitive statement at this stage in Dylan's career. Therefore it should probably not be looked at as such a thing. Another solid and enjoyable shimmering guitar record from a master of his craft. (VII)
Check out a track here.