Guitarist Dewey Mahood's departure from Eternal Tapestry, the free-range psych band of which he was a member for a decade, happened quietly. There were no big blowups, no residual ill will. Unless you heard the news personally, you probably wouldn't have figured it out until you saw him missing from the group's concert lineup.

Creatively speaking, though, the move is huge. With more time to devote to his solo work, released under the name Plankton Wat, Mahood now rehearses his material, rather than extemporizing to tape. Not a huge leap, seemingly, but one that makes Drifter's Temple so amazing.

The majority of these 10 instrumentals are gentle in nature, relying on guitar playing that moves between drawn-out chords, solos that move like slow waves and some thrilling fingerpicking. Sometimes Mahood manages to squeeze all three into the same song—the river float of "Klamath at Dusk," the heart-swelling "Dance of Lumeria"—but otherwise he separates these moods, giving each time to breathe and expand.

With more time to hone these songs, there's always the danger of overreach. Mahood avoids such lapses, using non-guitar instrumentation smartly and with great effect: See the glowering synth that rattles through "Siskiyou Caverns." He may be completely on his own now, but Mahood has the instrumental smarts and clarity of vision to make his continued solo journey worth chasing.

HEAR IT: Drifter's Temple is out Tuesday, Sept. 17.