Exposé Online banner

Neil Haverstick — Acoustic Stick
((Not on label) no#, 1997, CD)

by Steve Robey, Published 1999-11-01

Acoustic Stick Cover artThis is a fine release that will appeal equally to fans of pure guitar technique and to fans of good old acoustic jazz and blues guitar. It is definitely tempting to write on and on about how the sounds on this album were made; indeed, that seems to be the focus of most of the reviews I have seen of this man’s work. The use of microtones, effectively changing the whole structure of Western music, is certainly a bold idea. Haverstick uses two different custom-made guitars on this album — one has 19 tones per scale and the other has 34. The standard Western scale has only 12 tones. Sure, that’s a swell idea, but what does it do for the music? The effect on the music and composition is astounding, in fact. Our Western ears are generally used to hearing 12 tone scales, even if we are not aware of the fact. Adding new microtones to existing octave intervals (that is, 19 intervals between low E and high E instead of 12) allows entire chords (either played or merely implied) to be “bent” within the context of an established tonality. That is, certain chords and figures sound very alien, as if the strings were flat or sharp. These alien moments are quickly resolved, adding a constant tension and release to the music. To my ears, this whole experience is quite unique and very soulful. Indeed, jazz and blues both evolved partially from non-Western musics, and have frequently used “bent” tones to add tension (especially the blues). Unlike a saxophone’s note bending, however, Haverstick’s bends are just a normal function of his altered instrument, simultaneously giving them a natural and an otherworldly feel. To add icing on the cake, all of the pieces are quite accessible, using the expanded vocabulary of Haverstick’s instrument and technique to compose some very groovy music. Highly recommended.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 18, 1997 releases

Related artist(s): Neil Haverstick (Stick Man)

More info
http://microstick.net/product/acoustic-stick/

Latest news

2021-02-14
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more

2021-02-10
Chick Corea RIP – The sad news has reached us that Chick Corea has Returned to Forever, so to speak. The innovative keyboardist and composer died on February 9 at the age of 79. With a career that spanned from the 60s until shortly before his death, Corea touched many listeners with the incredible variety of music he produced in his lifetime. » Read more

2021-01-18
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more

2020-12-09
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more

2020-11-20
25 Views of Worthing Finally Gets Released – A while ago, we wrote about the discovery of a "long lost" Canterbury-style gem by a band called 25 Views of Worthing. And now we're pleased to find out that Wind Waker Records has released their music on an LP. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Jade Warrior - Now – Jade Warrior is one of those musical enigmas that has been nearly impossible to pigeonhole. Founder members Jon Field and vocalist Glyn Havard resurrected the band in 2007 meeting up after a long...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues