The Stick Man

Neil Haverstick is no stranger to the regulars at Psychopompos. We interviewed Neil several years ago and now Mr. Haverstick has a fantastic new album out called “Stick Man: Electric Music for 19 and 34 Tone Guitars.” On “Stick Man” Neil wrangles 19 and 34 tone bass guitars, 34 tone acoustic, 19 tone acoustic, and slide. Ernie Crews is also featured on drums and percussion.

Neil is a vastly interesting figure in the avant guitar world. Not only is he one of the few ambassadors of microtonality that bridges rock and avant garde but he’s also a celebrated author and educator. With “Stick Man” Haverstick has cemented his role as point man for the microtonal guitar community by concocting a masterful blend of modern and classic rock, jazz, metal, world, free form improvisation, and even ambient.

Each composition is strong and sparkles with originality and Neil’s lead playing, on “Jimi” for example, is filled with fire and passion. He’s capable of just the kind of reckless abandon that I value most from modern guitarists.

Hot spots: Every song basically kicks ass but the combination of “Ozzy,” “Jelly,” and “Jimi,” (songs 3, 4, and 5 respectively and each in 19 tone) remind me a lot of the Japanese fusion of Happy Family with perhaps a bit more classic rock vibe. But my favorite songs are “Snake Dance” (34 tone) with a pronounced Middle Eastern aesthetic and the epic, eleven minute “34 Fjord” which, as you can guess, features 34 tone guitar.

If you’re looking for one album to be your introduction to microtonal guitar than “Stick Man” is the one. I guarantee after spinning this album a few times you’ll want some new guitars, or at least, a re-fret!