RSS feed RSS Twitter Twitter Facebook Facebook 15 Questions 15 Questions

CD Feature/ Stick Man: "Mysterious Female"

img  Tobias

"Musicians, critics and listeners see Haverstick as either a masterful contributor of new music or an abrasive and irritating noise that won’t go away.’ I quote this from Westword, the leading alternative newspaper from Denver, CO, which discusses the extraordinary and impressive music from ‘The Stick Man’, aka Neil Haverstick. Upon hearing his newest CD release, Mysterious Female, I gladly announce right from the get go, that I belong to those people, who do not only see the Stick Man as a masterful contributor of new music, but who believe that Neil’s tonal art can only be called an epiphany of music.

His way to go about his work is, at first glance, an intellectual one. He uses the concept of microtonality, which, in short words, means the implication of different tuning systems  varying extensively from those in the western hemisphere – especially extending beyond the well known ½ steps between notes. Neil implements all kinds of different tuning systems from Arabic, Chinese, Indian and African cultures, to name a few. He has written some remarkable books, one being called ‘The Form of No Forms’, which was lauded by the likes of Tommy Tedesco and the jazz guitar icon Joe Pass as formidable and extremely informative.

But I don’t want to loose too much time with theory. Listen to ‘Mysterious Female’, and you will experience at first hand what I am talking about. "Impressive" is an important word here: Not only is the Stick Man a guitar virtuoso of extraordinary capability and impressive performances, but also a composer who impresses greatly. On this CD, we hear impressive solo work, impressive guitar synthesizer arrangements and, at times, lot’s of effects. Most importantly, there is a new quality to be detected, that opens untrodden ways of listening, understanding and enjoyment. By using these different tuning systems, the music still sounds familiar, but adds a very important new ‘aroma’ to it. It seems like there is a new language, that we understand at times, and then again, we have to guess what just has been said. And although we guess, there is this familiar feeling, the feeling of: ‘wait a minute, I have heard this before…’  and then, all of a sudden, it dawns on us. We hear and understand it, but it is equal to a new and sudden perception, that hits home like  the strike of lightning: Yes, indeed, there still are new ways of musical expressions, there are waves washing to the shores of our horizons, generated in a distant musical world.

Let me add one personal impression, which I feel needs to be mentioned: On the track ‘Silver Woman’, Haverstick plays some basic guitar exercises, that I played myself many a time when learning the guitar. Then, he pairs those routines with his different style of tuning, and the result is quite mindboggling. It was right there and then, when I really started to understand what his music is all about.

To wrap it all up, ‘Mysterious Female’ is an outstanding contribution to the positive and adventurous development of music in general. Neil Haverstick comes up with great variations of what is know in our musical hemisphere. He explains on this CD release his theories and  the way he goes about these compositions. This may not be understood by every listener, but he also adds one truly important and equally impressive remark, that I’d like to quote here: ‘…But, above all, just let the music take your ears to new places; maybe that’s enough…’  I agree wholeheartedly, and whoever wants to experience great music should listen to this outstanding work.

By Fred M. Wheeler

Homepage: Neil Haverstick aka Stickman
Homepage: Neil Haverstick aka Stickman at MySpace

Related articles

Noah Creshevsky: "To know and not to know"
Consistent lines: Creshevsky clearly builds ...
Olga Neuwirth & Vinko Globokar: New works with col legno
Two composers of very different ...
15 Questions to Michael "Atonal" Vick
2005 was an important year ...
Vital Weekly 598
Frans de Waard presents the ...
CD Feature/ Lngtche "Music for an untitled Film by T.Zarkkof"
Three gallons of black coffee ...
CD Feature/ Balmorhea: "Balmorhea"
Part of the “New Gemütlichkeit”: ...
CD Feature/ Annea Lockwood: "Thousand Year Dreaming/Floating World"
The every-day implications of sound: ...
CD Feature/ Nadja: "Guilted by the Sun EP"
An open invitation to the ...
CD Feature/ Aidan Baker: "Green & Cold"
The blues of a painter ...
CD Feature/ Felix Werder: "The Tempest"
An anti-escapist hallucinogen: Werder builds ...
15 Questions to Andreas Paolo Perger
"Play a Concert" Andreas' internet ...
CD Feature/ Erdem Helvacıoğlu: "Altered Realities"
One man, his guitar and ...

Partner sites