A Hawk & A Hacksaw, You Have Already Gone To The Other World

Luke Turner

By Luke Turner

on 04.02.13 in Reviews
Putting fierce twists on the music of the Ukraine, Hungary and Romania

Over the past decade, the New Mexican duo of Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost, aka A Hawk & A Hacksaw, have taken a fascinating journey through the music of Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Turkey and beyond. They also have a long-standing connection with cinema: Their first release was the soundtrack to a documentary about Slovenian thinker Slavoj Žižek. This album, their sixth, is loosely based on a score written to accompany Sergei Parajanov’s 1965 documentary film Shadows Of Forgotten Ancestors, about the Slavic Hutsul people in the Carpathian mountains that run through Central and Easter Europe. Clearly, there’s magic in those hills, and it’s richly mined here, as the pair put some fierce twists on the music of the Ukraine, Hungary and Romania. There’s an otherworldly atmosphere to “Where No Horse Neighs, And No Crow Flies,” where high tumbling notes give way to a sinister drone and rattling bells. On “Ivan And Marichka/The Sorcerer,” the drama is even more pronounced: It starts as a cheerful, skittish fiddle piece before becoming a terrifying tumult of drums and noise. The title track features more echoing, rattling rhythms and a gripping finale — it’s as if Liars had been transported via time-machine to an ancient pagan ritual on some dark mountainside. A Hawk & A Hacksaw’s music is a fusion of folk music styles that feels unforced, thoughtful and celebratory, and You Have Already Gone To The Other World is their finest work yet.