Exposé Online banner

Stickman — Fretless
((Not on label) no#, 2010, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2011-06-01

Fretless Cover artOn Neil Haverstick's ninth CD, he offers a compilation of all the fretless pieces from his previous CDs. Four of seven tracks exceed the ten-minute mark and feel improvised, sometimes enhanced with overdubs, but mostly Haverstick's exploration of the "many subtle microtonal shades of color, unavailable on a tempered instrument," as he describes it. "Mars Mama" is all acoustic guitar stream-of-consciousness rhythm shifts between percussive string flurries and tentative notes. "Didgeridon't" is that plus a variety of background drone textures. "Silver Woman" is a lattice of electric guitars conversing with the thoughtfulness of Satie's musical questions, jazz runs in overlapping layers, and fierce, breathing waves of processed lead. My favorite long piece is "Iraq," an acoustic meditation blending flamenco fury with the modal, boundary-pushing brio of modern classical guitar and the wild slips of detuned strings. The CD's three shorter tracks feel more intentional. "Thunderbird" builds a slow tonal wall over steady bass drum, a Native American voice chanting after sliding electric guitars layer into a crescendo. "Beautiful Springtime" takes off from a bluesy, Hawai'ian-sounding melody run through jazz changes with delicately thickening textures. The opening track "Project 9" is all over the map, quick bursts of Middle Eastern strings and winds, synth harp flourishes, massed East Asian flutes, snatches of didge, Theremin and many other things, a mash-up of string textures and electronic flavors. It would be interesting to hear these ideas developed - unless this track actually stands as a summary of Stickman's eight preceding CDs.

Filed under: Archives, Issue 39, 2010 releases

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

Latest news

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

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Stinkhorn - Stinkhorn & Tunguska – Stinkhorn was one of Seattle’s most challenging modern jazz quartets, blending John Zorn style motifs and English fusion approaches. Strong comparisons to George Cartwright and Curlew can be made...  (2006) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues