Deluxe compact disc edition available from Wounded Wolf Private Press - www.woundedwolfpress.co.uk
This album was recorded on April 15, 2013, in the small community of
Clover. We own ten acres of property on the edge of town, a tumble-down house and decaying outbuildings thrust in deep woods where we visit once or twice a year. Clover was at one time a thriving small city, but has lost its incorporated status in recent years and is now virtually abandoned, a landscape of gently rolling hills and thick forest in southern-central Virginia. No businesses are currently open downtown.
Without the benefit of electricity, we recorded in the empty remains of the house (now just a skeletal structure of bare rooms, sans most walls) using chiefly acoustic instruments played directly into cassette machines and portable digital recorders. Instruments used for these works include acoustic guitar, banjo, thumb piano, various hand percussion items, and a cheap battery-powered synthesizer. All recording was improvised over a single evening, no rehearsal, in single takes. On this journey we also brought along a small shortwave radio for catching passing frequencies of interest, and our usual collection of junk-store found sound tapes, most of them from the Edgar Cayce Past Lives Research Institute in Virginia Beach. Omnipresent are the background sounds of our crackling campfire, footsteps around the property, and piping birdsong. No ambient noise was edited out of the final mixes. Included are the rattling of branches, the brushing of leaves, the manipulation of wood and metal objects found within the old structure, and the fogging of cold late night breath on the
recorder. Listen closely and you'll even hear the far-off industrial rumble of the coal-fired power plant adjoining the property and freight trains thundering through some far-off, unseen hamlet.
Our careful, rickety lo-fi production under pressure wakened to life as a gathering of organic forces, something reaching far back into a murky past and howling. The woods came alive. These five pieces (four extended and broken up into individual movements, with one brief interlude dividing each pair) came about in the midst of a painful physical ailment and a mental health crisis, and as such are fraught
with a tension and a cavernous half-light. We secluded ourselves to evoke something elemental and primal from the raw, teeming woods around our isolated firelight, our own holy ring of chalk protecting us from the spirits beyond the door. This is a document of that process, these ghosts forever trapped on static-ravaged tape, wailing for release.
In Clover, VA
The winter hour at last lifts its cold veil,
and we can once more roam the landscape at will.
Let us fade into your sawtooth'd black treeline,
your well-hidden road spread bare 'neath blue twilight,
littered with the icy nymphs of stars pressed against their unknowable
This land of yours is weathered gray boards tilted against the wilderness,
and an unstable floor washed with the husks of leaves,
where we laid an ax down in torchglow for its image.
We'll collect these imprints like pressed anecdotes of space,
and pile driest branches to paint the woods a fervent glow.
Our languishing flames lick smoke and sparks into the aether
while we curl still frozen in sleeping bags, murmuring.
The old house stands bathed in its unknowable aftergloom,
in the shadowed reaching of its wool-gathered yesterdays,
as far-off trains wail their rusted lungs into the
hollows of the forgotten secret town.
"The best surprise purchase I made all year. Likely the most beautiful drone album of 2013; it is wonderfully haunted, hopeful, and organic. Holy Ring of Chalk is a mysterious venture into springtime rebirth in rural America." - Heathen Harvest (Nick's Top 3 of 2013)
"Lost Trail’s music is haunting. Radio static seems to crawl with the sound of disembodied voices, calling out from the local woods. In Clover, Virginia, the abandoned streets scream their music, forgotten by modern America. The drones lie low, beaming out their supernatural lights on a road that was once choked with traffic. Serene ambient passages that are nonetheless eerie in their sound lie against the light hiss of nostalgia. The buried photographs of a long lost, sepia family continue to haunt the township. Lost Trail will haunt you with their beautiful desolation. Among the trees, the entity walks: something horrific and yet transfixing, captured on their tape recorders and handheld camcorders." - A Closer Listen (Top Ten Experimental Releases of 2013)
"Lost Trail are capable of breathtakingly beautiful music, and these transparent drones rise up like the sizzling flames of a campfire." - Fluid Radio
"...this is by far their most complete work to date as well as their most ambitious... every section is masterfully crafted and to think that it was all improvised in the space of one night deserves even more praise... Holy Ring of Chalk is an experience that should be fully appreciated, uninterrupted, listened to and savoured then replayed and dissected to come to reach even further appreciation...with this they have perhaps created their Magnum Opus.. " - A Closer Listen
"Each piece fully enrobes the listener in the chilly Spring twilight, a distinct bloom of life in an otherwise abandoned city. A hopeful, yet apocalyptic dichotomy." - Heathen Harvest
"Sheer brilliance and beauty. Organic and fluid drone that was virtually unmatched this year. Peaceful and hopeful and evocative, I can’t say enough good things about this album." - Teeth Of The Divine (Staff Picks For 2013)
"Snapping winds elicit grey memories of Whistle and I'll Come to You scenery. Electronics are given a softness, a childlike wonderment at decayed places overgrown and reclaimed by nature. Moments of gentle country breeziness interspersed with eerie ham radio-esque
transmissions." Ears For Eyes (April Larson's Top 10 of 2013)
"Zachary and Denny Corsa have recorded so much haunted music that we were stumped on which album to choose; so we asked Zach, and he suggested Holy Ring of Chalk. The album was recorded in an actual haunted house in a single night (“Ge-e-e-t o-u-u-u-t!”) and incorporates (or discorporates) the spectral sonic remains of former inhabitants, as well as footsteps, crackling leaves and the echoes of old warped Edgar Cayce tapes. In the liner notes the Corsas write, “We secluded ourselves to evoke something elemental and primal from the raw, teeming woods around our isolated firelight, our own holy ring of chalk protecting us from the spirits beyond the door.'" - A Closer Listen's "Best Music For Haunted Houses, 2014"