The circumstances might have changed – he’s happily married, in good health and turned 50 – but Dylan Carlson of Earth remains committed both to the elements that have nourished a career that’s been never less than absorbing, and to a search for new horizons he can call his own.

Thus on his first solo album of instrumental guitar music under his own name, Carlson soundtracks the 20-year quest of an imperial Spanish soldier and his servant in the expanses of northern Mexico using little more than red-hot electric guitar, applying broad strokes that occasionally abandon conventional rhythm without the anchoring influence of Earth drummer Adrienne Davies, as on the Sabbath-meets-Killing-Joke heat haze of Scorpions in Their Mouths.

The motifs Carlson teases out, meanwhile, are mostly sideshoots of stems that have developed throughout Carlson’s work with Earth, marrying the distorted hymnals of the group’s 1990s output to the more melodically sophisticated desert meditations of the past decade or so.

The denouement of Reaching the Gulf, however, speaks more to his fondness for English and Celtic folk, representing the apex of his power to conjure simultaneously warmth and austerity, abetted by slide baritone guitar by Emma Ruth Rundle.

All told, Conquistador is as minimalist and contemplative as anything in its author’s canon. Long may his search continue.