A Hawk and A Hacksaw return with new record ‘Forest Bathing’ this year, inspired by the Japanese medical term Shinrin-Yoku (translating as ‘taking in the forest atmosphere’ and the Valle De Oro National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico.
The band has always had a bird’s eye view of this part the world- looking for the connections between places and even eras… a belief in the power of music to reach across borders and unite. If one were to listen to Forest Bathing with no knowledge of who the musicians were or where they came from, a variety of results certainly wouldn’t include two American musicians from Albuquerque, New Mexico. But it’s important to the band that you know where they are from.
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.
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.