KJNB Vault Album Review: Steve Hahn – Stickburst (1994)

September 19, 2009

Awwww yeah, burst that stick!

Concept: Steve shows off the potential of the ‘Chapman Stick,’ better known as the freaking Warr guitar.

Sound: This really is an awesome instrument that needs more use. What you have is more or less a bass running straight into a guitar, with big ol’ pickups so that everything can be finger-tapped: the closest you get to an upright piano short of the keytar, and honestly this thing has a much more organic sound. It’s only two guys on the album, but it certainly doesn’t sound like it. Hahn can cover atmosphere, rhythm, and melody all at once, and while the new-age effects are a little outdated the instrument’s slap tone is just wonderful. The compositions are plenty entertaining in their own right. Hahn isn’t all about technical achievement. He’s picking up this instrument so that he can add more musical structure than conventional strings could allow. If this wasn’t enough, he plays a little trumpet simultaneously with his stickwork.

Lyrics: Eh.

Quick And Dirty: This is still a cool instrument, and here you get to bask in its glory without the distracting lyrical theatrics of Yes and King Crimson, or the impish metrical pranks of Behold…The Arctopus. The pieces themselves make for a full demonstration of its potential as the key to a one-man jam band. Burst that stick! (♦♦♦♦½)

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