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Stick Man — Mysterious Female
((Not on label) no#, 2007, CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2008-01-01

Mysterious Female Cover artColorado's Neil Haverstick is now simply "Stick Man." For this writer, there used to be some shock value listening to music played on 19 tone (and even more unusual) scales, but after listening to enough Haverstick albums (and others — let's not forget the grand-daddy of them all Harry Partch), I guess I'm now suitably acclimated... it's just another way of approaching the whole concept of tonality. And certainly Haverstick puts it all to good practical use; his work never leaves you feeling like you're listening to some kind of experiment-in-progress or demonstration. He has made microtonality (or "non-12-tunings" as he prefers to call them) his way of life for many years, and uses his custom built microtone and fretless guitars to play standard forms like blues, folk, rock, classical, and even fiery acoustic jazz numbers like the twelve minute workout "Iraq" that envelops the listener a couple minutes after the disc starts. There are no vocals this time out. Chording is one area where the encounter can still seem a bit disorienting, but Stick Man has the good sense not to overdo it. The seven-part title suite is a good case in point, alternating between beautiful acoustic passages and vignettes lightly orchestrated with synths, where 12-tone and 19-tone instruments work together, bringing new emotions and feelings to the experience, ripe for intrepid listeners to explore. "Silver Woman" mixes acoustic and electric fretless together for one truly wild ride.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 35, 2007 releases

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

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