No Shape Can Hold Me Now was recorded over more than a year in which Bauer has had no permanent residence, and at the at the heart of the EP are thoughts on travel, return, and trying to find a home in the world.
The centerpiece is “Andaman Sea”, a duet with Jolie Holland that imagines a red eye flight over the international date line – the speaker lost in thought and memory and the inwardness of travel as a day vanishes from her calendar. “These are just lines on a map / I erase them,” she thinks. “No shape / No Time / No, nothing can hold me now.”
From there, the songs take us to places familiar and strange, real and imagined.
“Enlisted,” commissioned by the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands, takes as it’s source a drawing of Italy’s “Miracle Mountains” by Enzo Cucchi and imagines a young man’s thoughts as the people of his small town crowd around to enlist for war.
“Tonight We Get to Sing Our Songs” is about wandering a new city with friends before playing a show, finding the melody to a new song in the shadow of a giant black church made of lava rock.
Last, “Homeward Bound” is about returning home, or to some dream of it, in central Kentucky.
The wanderers of this EP find home not only as a place on a map, but as a shared past, a moment with friends, or in the thrill of having no idea where you are or what’s next.
Following 2008’s The Island Moved in the Storm, Bauer has, more often than not, been on tour in the US and Europe and after the release of 2011’s The Jessamine County Book of the Living has split his down time between Brooklyn, Austin, Arkansas, and Kentucky.
No Shape Can Hold Me Now was recorded to a vintage Avenbeinder 5 track in Brooklyn, San Francisco, Lexington, Ky, and Gilbert, Arkansas.