by Ethan Swan

Lucky Dragons

Thurs Jan 15

Holocene

Last year's anti-war protests were celebrated as the largest of their kind, assembling millions of people with one goal. One of the most striking things about the crowds was their unprecedented diversity, bringing together veterans and hippies, priests and punks. Hearing so many voices calling for the same thing is impressive, but hearing so many different voices is overwhelming. At marches in New York, Washington D.C., Philadelphia and Seattle, some of these voices were recorded and reassembled into a CD called Hawks and Sparrows.

The sounds on Hawks and Sparrows whirr and gallop their way into cracked rhythms, mimicking the crowd's momentum. Murmurs and silence both interrupt the progression but are quickly overrun by firecrackers and excited voices. The songs are difficult, as they ought to be--Americans aren't used to dancing their dissatisfaction. But there is a hopeful energy created by the enormity of the protests that overcomes the heartache of these times.

You can't buy Hawks and Sparrows, although it is theoretically available in stores. The three artists behind the songs (Big A Little A, Wrists + Pistols, and Lucky Dragons) have made all 18 tracks available for download at the website www.hawksandsparrows.org. They suggest there that you burn a CD and leave it at a record store under H. Thus, the spirit of the protests keeps living.

The idea for Hawks and Sparrows came from contributor Lucky Dragons, in hopes of creating a new way of remembering these protests. The focus of this project demanded a specific approach, but their previous work shows a similarly complicated approach to music. On the CD Dark Falcon (555 Recordings), Lucky Dragons sound like an update of Don Cherry's Mu. The playful, organic sound suggests a roomful of instruments, all waiting for their turn to add to the music. Guitars, found sounds, and electronics add their voices gently but insistently, each bringing in a train of references from indie rock to glitchy techno. Without warning, pop songs become revelations.