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Nick Beggs’ Stick Albums: Stick Insect

June 17, 2012

Fans of the Beggion will know that he has released two rather splendid solo albums – ‘Stick Insect’ and ‘Maverick Helmsman’ – both, although very different, are exclusively Chapman Stick orientated albums. Both albums are available via digital download and also on CD from Stick inventor Emmett Chapman’s ‘Stick Enterprises’ label.

Today, we feature Nick’s first solo long-player Stick Insect.

The history of Stick Insect dates back to 1998 when Nick was on tour in Finland as a part of the John Paul Jones Trio. Whilst there, he was approached by representatives from the Finnish Cultural Office who asked him if he would consider making an exhibition of his paintings for display in the National Library in Tampere, Southern Finland. They also wanted music to accompany the exhibits…. From this chance meeting – eighteen months later – ‘Stick Insect’ as an album was born.

The album was significant in many ways, as it was shortly after this that Nick announced his first solo gig, designed to showcase tracks from the (then) forthcoming ‘Stick Insect’ album. Nick played The Orange in Kensington, London on May 12th the following year.

Speaking at the time of release, Nick describes the album:

“It is a Stick record but it’s not a Stick record in the purest sense. Someone like Bob Culbertson would turn on a recorder, play one performance and that would be it. It’s not that sort of record.
I’ve tried to approach the instrument from my understanding of it. And so I’ve overdubbed. Although they’re all one pass pieces, there are other sounds in there, samples and stuff. There’re no drums in terms of real drums, it’s programmed. Somebody played some bouzouki on it for me and somebody played some piano and keys on one track, but other than that it’s all Stick”

*Interview courtesy of Jim Reilly at Stick Enterprises Ltd

And if that wasn’t enough, the cover art spectacularly features imagery taken by the Hubble Space Telescope of the Triffid Nebula. Does it get better??!


To round off today’s article, we feature video footage of Nick on stage in 2009 performing Tava, taken from the ‘Stick Insect’ album. Enjoy.

*Video content courtesy of DokiDok

For more on Nick and his Chapman Stick, keep checking KajaFax! Our next article focuses on his second Solo album, ‘Maverick Helmsman’.

2012 KajaFax

8 Comments leave one →
  1. David permalink
    June 17, 2012 6:03 pm

    Great article. I never knew that these fantastic albums were actually released on proper CD. Used to have them on cheap CD-R until they died on me. I’ll be buying both immediately!

    • June 17, 2012 6:31 pm

      That’s great news David. They are a little hard to come by these days but if you hunt around, they are there. I assume that ‘Stick Enterprises’ issued them in small numbers?? I got mine from Amazon UK from an American seller.

      • David permalink
        June 17, 2012 7:21 pm

        Can’t find any trace an Amazon or Ebay. I’ve emailed Stick directly so I’ll wait and see if I can get them there. Now if only ‘Gone To Earth’ and the ‘live in Japan’ albums can get a real CD release…

    • June 17, 2012 7:33 pm

      Well, you have to get lucky I admit. Stick Enterprises don’t have any left as far as I know – it’s itunes on download, or be fortunate enough to find a proper CD on the second hand market I’m afraid.

      I only ever saw 2 copies of Stick Insect on factory pressed CD, one of which I bought.

      • David permalink
        June 17, 2012 11:52 pm

        Time for a repress then? With costs to manufacture now being so low, surely it would be worthwhile for Nick to do it? Here’s hoping anyway…

  2. David permalink
    June 20, 2012 2:36 pm

    Just to let you know, I received a very friendly and detailed reply from Stick Enterprises, and they do have some copies of ‘Stick Insect’ left – which I ordered sharpish! No ‘Maverick Helmsman’ though. I suggested they do a repress 😉

  3. June 21, 2012 1:23 pm

    When I have to go, I’m definitely up for death by cleavage!


  1. Nick Beggs’ Stick Albums: Maverick Helmsman «

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