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World Music CD Reviews World Fusion

Neil Haverstick

By John Kuhlman
Published March 16, 2007

StickMan
Self-released

What's great about microtonal guitar players is that in their reconceptualization of the instrument, there is always the possibility for creating something so fundamentally different from what already exists that it will seem like an artifact from a fully realized, albeit non-existent civilization. And while Neil Haverstick (well known session man and guitar instructor), whose mutant guitars on this album are majorly tweaked to produce 19- and 34-tone scales, is less ambitious than that (there's a pleasant, homemade, take-it-or-leave-it quality to the packaging that's actually kind of refreshing), and is content in his drum-and-guitar constructions to remain well within the city limits of current prog/metal/fusion forms, his extended palette gives a deep, wiggly vibration to his sound at an atomic level (especially in his extended, expansive solos), powerful enough to keep you aloft, comfortably circling in a low-level, slightly elliptical orbit around a familiar planet.