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

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more

2019-04-24
Help MoonJune Bring Great Music to Life – Like many music lovers around the world, we’ve been thrilled and amazed to hear the recordings that have been released by MoonJune from sessions at La Casa Murada in Spain. Such label stalwarts as Mark Wingfield, Markus Reuter, Asaf Sirkis, Tony Levin, Dusan Jevtovic, Vasil Hadzimanov, and many more have gathered in various combinations at the studio to produce some of the most creative music in recent years. Now, label head Leonardo Pavkovic is offering a compilation, La Casa Murada - MoonJune Sessions, Volume One, as a fundraiser for upcoming sessions. » Read more

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Gutbucket - A Modest Proposal – This (the band's fourth album) was the first I'd heard of Gutbucket, but it impressed me so that I immediately tracked down their second and third albums (Dry Humping the American Dream and Sludge...  (2010) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues