Release Date: Apr 2, 2013
Record label: L.M. Dupli-Cation
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Experimental Rock, Indie Folk
A Hawk and a Hacksaw make Eastern European folk music for people who don’t like Eastern European folk music. To fans, that might seem contentious, because you could say the same sort of thing about Mumford & Sons. But whereas Mumford & Sons make inauthentic, bastardised folk for people who’ve never heard real folk music in their lives, A Hawk And A Hacksaw are divorced from the rest of their genre in a different, more respectable way.
Over the last couple of years A Hawk And A Hacksaw have toured their live soundtrack to Soviet filmmaker Sergei Parajanov’s 1965 arthouse classic Shadows Of Forgotten Ancestors around Europe. They were the perfect band to provide such a musical accompaniment, the film’s rich representation of Ukrainian life finding a strange parallel in Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost’s Eastern European-inspired music of the last decade. Almost half a century may have elapsed between the release of the film and this album, but there’s evidence of shared artistic approaches at play, both parties occupying positions on the edges of their respective fields.
Visceral, intoxicating, occasionally difficult, and wildly inventive, the sixth studio outing from former Neutral Milk Hotel drummer Jeremy Barnes and violinist Heather Trost (both are multi-instrumentalists) -- the sole official members of Albuquerque, New Mexico-based, Eastern European-influenced experimental rock outfit A Hawk and a Hacksaw -- was forged on the road. Prior to the studio sessions for You Have Already Gone to the Other World, the duo had spent a great deal of time touring their live soundtrack to the 1964 art house film Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors by the Soviet filmmaker Sergei Parajanov around Europe. The countless viewings and performances eventually inspired Barnes and Trost to expand their tribute to the film, which was a hallucinatory, early champion of magical realism that took place in a Hutsul village in the Carpathian Mountains of Ukraine, into a full-on studio project that used traditional, regional Ukrainian music as a springboard for new variations, motifs, and themes.
Sergei Parajanov's Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors tells the story of Ivan and Marichka, two star-crossed lovers from a tiny village in the Carpathians who find (and refind) each other under the most extraordinary circumstances. It's a vibrant, dizzying film with the quality of a dream: In 1978, the late Roger Ebert called it "one of the most unusual films I've seen, a barrage of images, music and noises, shot with such an active camera we almost need seatbelts. " The movie struck a chord with Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost of A Hawk and a Hacksaw, the American duo whose on-record explorations of the folk music of Eastern Europe shares the film's interest in the region's folk traditions, its cross-hatching of the mournful and the celebratory, and its hints of the surreal.
Boy meets girl. Girl dies. Boy meets new girl. Boy meets sorcerer, and it all goes to shit. That’s the basic premise of Seregei Parajanov’s dizzying 1964 film Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, a fitting inspiration for adventurous Europhiles A Hawk and a Hacksaw’s impressive sixth full length ….