A HAWK AND A HACKSAW: Cervantine (LM Dupli-cation)


Posted on Apr 12th 2011 01:20 am

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A Hawk And A Hacksaw: Cervantine

LM Dupli-cation 2011
08 Tracks. 40mins19secs

Amazon UK: CD | LP US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD

A Hawk And A Hacksaw was originally the solo enterprise of former Neutral Milk Hotel drummer Jeremy Barnes, a project started shortly after leaving the band in the early 2000s. In recent years, he has been joined by violinist Heather Trost, who began as a simple regular contributor before becoming a fully fledged member in 2006. The pair spent many months in total immersion in Central and Eastern Europe, sucking up local folklore and getting involved with local musicians and formations. Over the years, the sources of inspiration have expanded quite considerably in pretty much all directions to cover most of Eastern Europe, from the Baltic to the Adriatic and Mediterranean.

For this latest release, the fifth AHAAH album and the first on their own imprint, LM Dupli-cation, the band has expanded again with the addition of long term friends Chris and sister Stephanie Hladowski, who contribute bouzouki and vocals respectively. As with previous records, the band also relies on a number of additional musicians and guests who all contribute to make the band’s vision a reality by adding their particular instrumental touches. Unlike previous albums though, Cervantine was recorded in Barnes’s hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico, bringing in some new Latin influences, especially on Espanola Kolo, on which traditional eastern flavours are spiced up with Mexican brass work, yet the AHAAH sound is still very much anchored in the complex and luxurious musical forms and rich instrumentations of Eastern Europe.

AHAAH are not hugely preoccupied with historical authenticity, but this is not to say that their music is not the least sincere. Quite the opposite in fact. Ignoring boundaries and bringing together diverse cultural elements allow them to create something which, while rooted in various cultures and traditions, is ultimately their own interpretation of them. As they incorporate some of their own cultural heritage here, the resulting album appears, if anything, even more authentic than any of its predecessor. Cervantine teems with generous flourishes and motifs, from the sweeping melodies of No Rest For The Wicked, Espanola Kolo or At The Vulturul Negru to the more melancholic moments of the title track or The Loser (Xeftilis). Stephanie Hladowski adds haunting touches on Mana Thelo Enan Andra and Uskudar, her particular earthy tone and her incredible vocal dexterity adding a layer of intensity, mystery and magic to this record.

This is music where festivity and drama are never far apart, and often cohabit within the same space, and this strong correlation between the two contributes to making this record an incredibly exhilarating listen from start to finish.


A Hawk And A Hacksaw | A Hawk And A Hacksaw (MySpace)
Amazon UK: CD | LP US: CD | LP | DLD Boomkat: CD | LP | DLD iTunes: DLD

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