While writing Prefab Sprout’s 1984 debut, Swoon, bandleader Paddy McAloon hatched a character named Green Isaac. “I was fooling around with the word ‘green’,” McAloon said later that year, highlighting his idiosyncratic writing process. “In English, ‘green’ means innocent. Then I came across the biblical figure Isaac, the epitome of innocence, and immediately I had a great song title.” Twenty-five years later, ambient guitarist Mark McGuire titled one of his earliest releases after a lyric from that Prefab Sprout song: “Isaac’s a soft name, it sounds like a pocket full of rain.”

McGuire’s album, originally released in 2009, landed amid a prolific run of early solo releases, mostly CD-Rs and cassettes that ran parallel to his work in the Cleveland noise and drone trio Emeralds. He had yet to develop the carefully crafted tact of the linear, song-oriented material he would become known for a few years down the line. The charm of A Pocket Full of Rain lies in its innocence—much like McAloon’s wet-behind-the-ears Green Isaac, it sounds wide-eyed and drunk on possibility.

The newly reissued album opens with “Extended Forecast,” a patient tapestry of overlapping guitar lines. Each has its own distinct pedal effects and patterns, but the way McGuire weaves them together makes it hard to trace an individual thread from start to finish without your ear latching onto another. When he’s in this extended jam mode, which also distinguishes “The Marfa Lights” and “Radio Flyer,” the effect is similar to a constantly refocusing camera lens that goes from crystal clear to bokeh and back again: a kaleidoscopic array of abstract and tactile textures. This gorgeous approach lends itself to blissfully zoning out, but it’s also obvious that these meandering improvisations—many of which were cut down from 20-plus minute takes—were the product of McGuire “getting stoned and jamming for a couple hours,” as he said in a 2011 interview, as opposed to his more recent attempts to “fine-tune” his music.

Although the shorter tracks on A Pocket Full of Rain offer snapshots of McGuire’s melodic capabilities, the album lacks the cohesion of later albums such as 2010’s Living With Yourself or 2014’s Along the Way. By that point, McGuire was concocting elaborate concepts for each release and allowing those narratives, memories, or moods to guide the music. Knowing what’s on the other side of A Pocket Full of Rain makes some of its extended tangents seem tantalizingly inchoate, but it also spotlights the youthful abandon that McGuire brought to his early home recording process.

“Radio Flyer,” in particular, conjures the same childhood nostalgia as Living With Yourself while roaming further afield. The opening melodies are buoyant and carefree, but midway through they all fade out save one contemplative line that’s laid bare. When the rest return, they’re lower, rumbling, following the lead of the lonely, persistent motif. The song brings to mind the classic Calvin and Hobbes wagon escapades, which use harebrained adventures as the unlikely setting for philosophical musings on mortality.

That aching beauty is a strange contrast with A Pocket Full of Rain’s queasier moments, which roll in like thunderstorms to disrupt otherwise tranquil scenes. “Sick Chemistry,” in particular, recalls Emeralds’ drones, a billowing briar patch of distorted, sustained notes that stretches on for miles. But for much of the album, McGuire plucks out single notes on an open tuning, allowing him to layer tracks atop one another without getting muddled by fatter chord strums. The technique gives the Cleveland native’s work a passing similarity to Midwest emo and explains why the title track sounds like an American Football cassette left out in the sun for too long. The more opaque sound of “Sick Chemistry,” the album’s penultimate song, offers a palate cleanser before stunning closer “Sun Shining Through the Open Barn Door,” a gentle, pastoral postscript that tones down the effects-laden Frippery in favor of acoustic bliss.

Although McGuire’s early recordings have drawn frequent comparison to kosmische works of the ’70s, particularly Manuel Göttsching’s Inventions for Electric Guitar, McGuire insists in the Pocket Full of Rain liner notes that he hadn’t heard Göttsching’s work until “a year or so before” recording this album. There’s no denying the similarities of their delay-driven styles, but it’s also easy to see how McGuire arrived at this point on his own. For one, there’s something distinctly American, and more specifically Midwestern, about his sound. His approach to experimental music is earthy and humble, and not overly concerned with transcendence unless it’s to be found within its own surroundings.

There’s a certain sense of inevitability when you plop a restless creative in a room with nothing but a guitar and a bevy of effects to choose from. While McGuire would eventually learn to harness those effects with more specificity, and branch out to include other instruments and even lyrics, A Pocket Full of Rain is a captivating portrait of a green genius with his head down, surrounded by pedals, dreaming of possibilities.