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

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ozric Tentacles - Arborescence – The Ozrics are masters of the hypnotic groove, finding that seemingly endless psychedelic guitar and synth riff, a repetitive - nearly trance-like structure, and then exploring all of its...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues