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

2021-04-01
New Aristocrats Live Album on the Way – No foolin'! These supreme musicians toured Europe early in 2020, just before touring ceased to be a thing musicians could do, and there were some hot performances captured. On May 7, some of these will be releases as Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. » Read more

2021-03-25
Return of Jerry Lucky's Progressive Rock Files – After much consideration and surprisingly, positive feedback, Jerry Lucky is announcing the launch of the progressive Rock Files podcast, featuring the latest progressive rock music from around the world. » Read more

2021-03-14
Jewlia Eisenberg RIP – The sad news has come out that Jewlia Eisenberg has died. As a founding member of Charming Hostess, Eisenberg changed the face of music, bringing together Balkan klezmer, American folk, and experimental rock in a distinctive blend that garnered much praise. » Read more

2021-03-11
RIP Roger Trigaux – The sad news has come to our attention that Roger Trigaux, the guiding force of Present and former member of Univers Zero, passed away on the evening of March 10, 2021 after a long ilness. » Read more

2021-02-14
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Anaïd - Four Years – The hybrid French/English ensemble Anaïd may or may not still be in existence; this CD combines some tracks from their only LP Belladonna and selected material from before and after. The title...  (1995) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues