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A Hawk And A Hacksaw And The Hun Hangár Ensemble Limited Edition, CD+DVD

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (7 May 2007)
  • Limited Edition edition
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Limited Edition, CD+DVD
  • Label: The Leaf Label
  • ASIN: B000PC1KHK
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 371,457 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

BBC Review

After over a decade playing drums for U.S neo-psychedelia mavericks, Neutral Milk Hotel, followed by a frankly bizarre stint as a postman in Leicester, New Mexico native Jeremy Barnes re-emerged in 2004 with his own uniquely captivating solo project, A Hawk And A Hacksaw.

While his former group often made inventive use of brass band textures, Barnes has gone much further in developing a sound built around the exuberant folk traditions of Eastern Europe, often working closely with musicians from the region, notably Romania's Fanfare Ciocarlia on acclaimed third album The Way The Wind Blows.

On this limited edition EP (only 4000 copies have been pressed), Barnes and violinist Heather Trost team up with Hungarian supergroup The Hun Hangar Ensemble to produce what is undoubtedly their bravest work yet.

While their earlier releases at least gave a cursory nod to conventional Western rock with a smattering of English language vocals, this eight-track set is almost exclusively rooted in the Balkans, with only two completely original compositions included among the traditional pieces.

Interestingly, it is these two tracks and the others to which Barnes and Trost contribute additional melodies which provide the standout moments. Trost's opener ''Kiraly Siratas'' features a yearningly sad violin refrain that evokes John Williams's score to Schindler's List, followed closely by Barnes's accordion-led stomp through his own ''Zozobra'' accompanied by the sinuous cymbalom (a stringed instrument central to Hungarian music) of the Hun Hangar's Balazs Unger. The energy of A Hawk And A Hacksaw's virtuoso live performances is vividly captured on ''Romanian Hora And Bulgar'', which starts off as a slow waltz before suddenly hurtling off without warning towards a frenzied gipsy dance climax.

The latter stages of the EP are given over to solely traditional material, and while the playing of the Hun Hangar remains exemplary throughout, the reduced input from Barnes and Trost is immediately apparent and proceedings start to flag somewhat. Closing number 'Dudanotek' features Bela Agoston alone on the Hungarian bagpipes, and while his impassioned screeching may be met with great enthusiasm in the bars of Budapest (and quite possibly Glasgow), it is arguably a step too far for all bar the most adventurous ears.

These minor gripes aside, it is rare indeed for a British or American act to succeed in distilling the essence of a different musical culture as authentically and compellingly as A Hawk And A Hacksaw do. Although too resolutely esoteric to attract mainstream appeal, more records as delightful as this should ensure Barnes does not have to return to the employ of the Royal Mail any time soon. --Chris White

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Format: Audio CD
So what have we here? A 30 minute EP of Eastern European folk music, that's what! Tempted? You should be.

This EP is essentially a collaboration between the eccentric accordian/violin duo A Hawk and a Hacksaw and a Hungarian folk outfit named The Hun Hangar ensemble. The music they have created together is a joy to behold.

From the very opening of the CD the instrumentation and standard of musicianship is utterly splendid. We have trumpets, tubas, fiddles, clarinet and accordian, often played at dizzying speeds. Foot-stomping tune after foot-stomping tune is churned out, all minor chords and exhilirating tempo changes. I played this to my mother at a family Sunday lunch and she was entranced - expressing a desire to get up and dance around the kitchen!

The 8 tunes here are pretty much flawless, and played with a lot of love. My current personal faves are "Oriental Hora", a sinister accordian waltz, and "Romanian Hora and Bulgar", which mutates from a downtempo funereal lament into a thigh-slapping wedding party fiddle-fest! Music to get your heart beating,folks.

This is doubtless the best thing A Hawk and a Hacksaw have released thus far. Where on previous releases their music was always interesting but seemed to go off on too many tangents, THIS is a coherent body of work. It's also riotously entertaining! If you are curious enough to be reading this review, I implore you to make a purchase. And make it quick! - This is an extremely limited release.

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Format: Audio CD
Its hard to explain and even harder to understand how much I struggled with A Hawk and A Hacksaw, I tried so hard to fall in love with them & The Way The Wind Blows album, the one that so many people raved about, the one that was included in so many end of year polls, and rather highly too, yet it never really struck the chord, just like Beirut whatever everyone else was seeing was passing me by, I was probably staring right at it but couldn't see for looking. So its comes as quite a surprise that the follow up that has scarcely been mentioned, I've yet to see any hype on the forums from the very same people that championed The Way The Wind Blows, has had such an instant appeal to me. Each track warm and inviting like an evening round a fire snowed in in a Hungarian log cabin, accordions and all sorts of weird instruments at the ready, taking in the Amelie soundtrack, the most mariachi parts of Calexico along the way and much beer from silver tankards, overflowing as they clash together in pure ecstasy. Let this soundtrack your next Hungarian disco.
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Amazon.com: HASH(0xa49dd864) out of 5 stars 1 review
HASH(0x9b341d5c) out of 5 stars Great collaboration. Excellent musicianship! 13 Sept. 2014
By Beau Fuller - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Great collaboration. Excellent musicianship!
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