Exposé Online banner

Stick Man — 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

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more

2018-09-05
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more

2018-07-31
Tomasz Stańko RIP – Tomasz Stańko, one of the greats of Eastern European jazz, has died at the age of 76. Stańko's career started in Krzysztof Komeda's quintet, where he contributed trumpet from 1963-1967, when he formed his own group. He worked extensively with Edward Vesala, Don Cherry, Zbigniew Seifert, Chico Freeman, Howard Johnson, Cecil Taylor, and many others. Many of his recordings have been released by ECM, an association that began in the mid-70s. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Happy the Man - Live – Although this live set would have been much more meaningful had it been released closer to when it was recorded in 1978, it stands today as evidence that this DC area quintet was as tight on-stage as...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues