Review: Lost Trail – The Afternoon Vision

The Lost Trail - The Afternoon VisionIs this material meant for my eyes? Am I being intrusive? I find two mini-CDs embedded amongst a pile of infographics, poetic imagery and curious images: an in-depth soil survey covering areas of Cincinnati and West Virginia, pictures of doors that hum with the photographer’s desire to know what exists behind them, distorted depictions of thick woodland and factories wedged into hillsides. The audio is pregnant with a significance that evades me. Distortion crumples into itself like a boot pressing upon dry earth, while the strange melodies of unknown instruments (guitars? electronics?) gleam insistently like winter sunlight. In the context of the accompanying maps and literature, I imagine these pieces to be translations of an otherwise inaudible rural energy; mineral compositions rendered in sound, nestled among extracts of news reports and field recordings of weather in imbalance.

I examine the soil texture triangle (a diagram that indicates the ratio of textures that comprise different types of earth) as a muffled melody comes blustering into the frame, like the residual song of a 10th Century choir carried on an inexorable breeze. The sounds feel weathered, rediscovered; orphaned from their primary purpose and now left to whimper and hum to themselves, only to be inducted into Lost Trail’s catalogue of evidence. As with many Wist Rec releases, the concept is both potent and elusive. I connect with The Afternoon Vision as an accidental observer – someone who stumbles upon this bundle of research and tries to trace its contents back to a single, originating objective, brimming with questions and trying helplessly to draw connotative lines between each scrap of paper. I sink into sensations I do not understand, hands mucked by moist earth and tongue tingling with the tang of the countryside at dawn.