Title: ’93 EP
Artist: Corwin Trails
Release Date: 2014 Aug 31
License: CC BY-NC-ND
Label: Archaic Horizon
The Corwin Trails lead back to 1993 for an exploration of memories and a bit of nostalgia through a series of vignettes, By today’s standard, this could be a considered a lo-fi release filled with sounds that might be considered cheesy or clichéd. However, in the hands of Samuel Vandiver of Corwin Trails they take on a different meaning.
Corwin Trails Lead Back To 1993
I’ve said before that I am a huge fan of miniature, or vignette style pieces. The idea of getting into a piece of music, letting a central theme make a statement, and letting the piece end is sometimes the perfect form for a piece of music. In the case of ’93EP the vignette takes on another dimension: it is a building block. It is an element of the overall, like examining the materials used in the construction of a building, or the brushstrokes of paint an artist leaves on the canvas.
For me individual sounds on this release bring up an odd range of associations with artists like XTC, Todd Rundgren, Rumored High Speed Rail Hub (aka Take Pills Die), and Vangelis. It’s probably the curse of a music listener to have associations between various sounds, textures, or harmonies and specific artists. And then there are music associations, such as the opening line of ‘IO Michigan’ which I could swear I know from somewhere (even have a vague recollection of a similar immature scribbling of my own when I was in grade school…but didn’t all aspiring musicians have something similar?).
What becomes interesting in this work is the way elements find their way recurring between pieces. For example, the opening overture of ‘Greatest Hits’, and the penny whistle sound of ‘IO Michigan’ are found later in ‘Young People of My Future’.
But that is only one example. The re-contextualizing of elements between pieces is one of the elements that adds a real richness to this release. Our memories and experiences are not one-dimensional or isolated. They weave their own complex tapestry in our minds, form their own relationships to each other.
And that is where this release excels, in not treating our memories as just bits and pieces of nostalgia (even if there are elements of nostalgia in the association) but as a series of things, events, places, that are inter-related to each other.
This is a release that I think will surprise listeners who scratch the surface beyond the elements of nostalgia that comes from lo-fi production, and using period sounds. There is a lot of more lurking in the construction of these vignettes than is obvious on a single listen. It is possible, by finding your own links between the various pieces you will find it to be a recording that allows you to impose your own memories on it, as much as I have linked various sounds to specific artists, or found relationships between the various pieces. The Corwin Trails lead back to 1993, but it’s your memories that will be fit into the narrative of these pieces.
[Ed Note: As of Sept 2018 it appears the Archaic Horizon website is down, but not completely gone. Therefore, we’ve kept the link to this release on Archaic Horizon, and added a link to the release on Internet Archive.]