A Hawk and A Hacksaw began in 2000 in the small town of Saumur, France. Initially a solo vehicle for Neutral Milk Hotel drummer Jeremy Barnes, the main impetus of the project was to focus on the gray areas in borders of music and geography. The first album was released in 2002 by Cloud Recordings. Barnes met violinist Heather Trost in 2004 and the band became a duo. The pair has since released six albums, and toured extensively around the world. They have learned from and collaborated with some of the great musicians of Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey. The duo has been invited to tour with Swans, Calexico, Wilco, Andrew Bird, Portishead, Of Montreal and performed at Roskilde, Pitchfork Music Fest, and All Tomorrow’s Parties. They also collaborated with Iggy Pop on the reworking of a classic sea shanty.
In 2011 the band started their own label, Living Music Duplication, releasing albums by the great Turkish clarinetist Cüneyt Sepetçi, Romanian village band Bahto Delo Delo, and also Mountains of Tongues (a collection of music from the Caucasus), Thor & Friends (Swans drummer Thor Harris’ minimalist project which Barnes produced and heavily features Trost’s violin) among others. You Have Already Gone to the Other World, an album inspired by the film Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors was released in 2013, and the band toured art cinemas and film festivals playing a new score to the film. They were a featured act at the Transylvanian Film Festival in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, and also presented the film at the London’s Barbican and The Lincoln Center in New York. In the past few years, the band has focused on recording, composing the soundtrack to a hit Albanian TV show called Skanderbeg and the video game Forest of Sleep. They also recently completed a score for a new short by critically acclaimed film maker Peter Strickland (Berberian Sound Studio, The Duke of Burgundy). They were also featured, along with Bartók and Ligeti, for an evening of Eastern European art-music at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London. The BBC Concert Orchestra played AHAAH’s original compositions and folk arrangements along with the band.
Forest Bathing, the new album, features ten original compositions. The Persian Santur, an ancient type of dulcimer struck by sticks, and played by Barnes, is a feature component along with Trost’s soaring and diving violin. The duo play nearly every instrument, but have some wonderful guest musicians on a few tracks- Turkish clarinetist Cüneyt Sepetçi, Hungarian cimbalom master Unger Balász, Chicago trumpeter Sam Johnson, who often tours with the group, Deerhoof guitarist John Dieterich, and New Mexico bassist Noah Martinez of the band Lone Piñon.
“The passion they imbue into their performances seem to know no bounds” – Pitchfork
“Every time I hear them I get this warm feeling about their music” – Adrian Utley, Portishead
“(Cervantine) is an album of glorious madness and melody, played not only with skill, but with real passion.” – AllMusic
“Every note is considered and played with joy, care and a sense of craft. Together with the record’s beautiful packaging, Cervantine feels like a personal historical document, speaking to and from the soul.” – Drowned in Sound
“What’s really interesting is the way (they) are now alchemising their global travels and influences into something personal” – The Wire
No shows booked at the moment.