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Allan Holdsworth: Atavachron

Downbeat, March 1987

Bill Milkowski

Allan Holdsworth's use of the Synthaxe is more adventurous on Atavachron (Enigma 73203). The guitarist's guitar-hero weds his uncanny technique with futuristic technology allowing him to take the idea of legato playing to new levels On the jazzy Funnels he affects a circular breathing sax approach while on The Dominant Plague, a rock dirge with church organ Synthaxe, he goes for crazed dissonance. Like Frank Zappa's difficult music these complex suites demand disciplined meticulous players. No vamps here. Bassist Jimmy Johnson fills the bill throughout. Drummer Tony Williams (Allan's former bandmate in Lifetime) handles the intricate meters and strict stop-time stuff on Looking Glass, while Gary Husband mans the battery on four other cuts. Holdsworth solos mainly on standard six-string, with the exception of All Our Yesterdays, a Synthaxe improvisation with Chad Wackerman on synth-drums. As always, Allan's scalar runs and fl uent wang bar work will elicit howls of delight from guitar groupies (particularly on the rock-edged title cut). Whether the grandiose sweep of his music will inspire pedestrians remains to be seen.

Transcribed by Per Stornes
Updated: February 1, 2001
Scheduled update: None

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