Since his debut recording 35 years ago, Bill Frisell has been remarkably prolific, resulting in 36 albums as a leader. On Music IS the guitarist re-examines some of his earlier works while showcasing five new compositions, all in an unaccompanied setting. Frisell starts many tunes with an almost naive simplicity but gradually builds sonic cathedrals by using looped layers and gorgeously finessed chordal voicings; “Pretty Stars” and “Thankful” are examples of this approach. Another Frisell signature, the Monkian herky-jerky quirkiness in some of his rhythmic cadences, manifests on his sparse reworking of “Winslow Homer,” which he gradually builds up to a virtual guitar choir through overdubbing. “Change Is in the Air” is a fragile, chamber-like minor key lament that relies on multiple guitar tracks for lush effect. He makes judicious use of swirling loops and backwards effects on the somber “What Do You Want?” and the hypnotic “In Line” while the grunge element in Frisell’s playing rears its dissonant head on “Kentucky Derby.” Other intimate gems here include a haunting remake of the lonesome-sounding “Ron Carter,” an artful re-imagining of “Rambler,” and “Monica Jane,” a poignant ode to his daughter.