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

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Nouvelles Lectures Cosmopolites - Friesengeist Part π - Ascendances – For the third installment of his Friesengeist series, Julien Ash has pared things down, utilizing only four musicians to augment his own keyboards and effects; previous releases featured eight or...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues