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

2018-09-05
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

2018-07-09
Soft Machine Set to Release New Music – It's been 50 years since The Soft Machine changed the face of music with their first album. Their blend of psychedelic rock and jazz was unique, and while the band went through many changes before disbanding in 1981 — by which time there were no original members remaining — they remained an innovative force with a style all their own. » Read more

2018-07-01
7d Surfaces Happy Rhodes Back Catalog – We've covered singer Happy Rhodes before, both for her solo work and recently with The Security Project, but her 11 albums have been hard to track down. Until now. 7d features high-quality downloads of all her releases, and several of them are also available on CD. » Read more

2018-06-25
Fred Chalenor RIP – We have news of another sad passing in the world of creative music. Bassist Fred Chalenor, whose creativity featured on albums by Tone Dogs, Caveman Shoestore, and many more, died on June 23, 2018 after a long battle with Alzheimer's. Tributes have poured in from the many musicians and fans whose lives he touched. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ars Nova - Fear and Anxiety – Here is one of those albums that I hate at one listen, and love at the next. Ars Nova is a Japanese instrumental trio of mega-keyboards, bass, and drums, playing pretty much in the tired old keyboard...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues