There's a sense of adventure in music that has Arabian hints. Whether you're traveling the desert or venturing through silent forests, there's a sense of magic in the music. A Hawk and A Hacksaw travel a curious road in Forest Bathing, their worldly album that feels full of curiosity and stories.
Everything in Forest Bathing feels like its on a journey. At times, that means literal travel, the music exploring every nook and cranny of a newfound land. Other times, the music may travel into the past, telling the stories of the weathered down moments of the past. Opening track 'Alexandria' kicks off the literal journey, its mysterious textures putting you in the heart of a desert land (presumably Egypt, as per the title). 'A Broken Road Lined With Poplar Trees' feels much more royal, it's celebratory vibe making you want to grab a partner and dance with curious joy. 'A Song For Old People / A Song For Young People' keeps that kinetic energy alive, even more fun and alive, though with a lot more drama, than the previous track. It's almost like an interpretive dance with a Spanish flair put to work.
The stories A Hawk and A Hacksaw tell feel just as important as the moments of exploration. 'The Shepherd Dogs Are Calling' has a lot of drama to it, and really has that beaten down, aged sound, as if it comes from experience. While not about a specific person, 'The Washing Bear' feels to be about the liveliness of a town, while 'The Magic Spring' sounds like finding a miracle while wishing on a last hope. Closing track 'Bayati Maqam' ties the whole album together, its dark and dramatic beginnings building into something majestic. What's most important about this final track is not that it ends the album big, but it ends without true finality: it feels like there's more adventures to be had, and more stories to be told. It almost coaxes you to go out there and explore.
A Hawk and A Hacksaw travel a curious road in Forest Bathing, creating an adventure where you see many different places and meet many different people. It's almost like a soundtrack, but not for a movie. It's the soundtrack of a desert adventure, through bazaars and through deserts, to oases and to dead ends. There's no end to the journey, even when the record ends, which means the rest of the adventure is left to you to have.
Favorite Tracks: Bayati Maqam, A Broken Road Lined With Poplar Trees
Least Favorite Track: Night Sneaker
Rating: 80 / 100
Stream or buy Forest Bathing on Apple Music, and follow our 2018 Playlist: