Magazine article Guitar Player

Allan Holdsworth: On Reissuing His SynthAxe Opus, FLATTire

Magazine article Guitar Player

Allan Holdsworth: On Reissuing His SynthAxe Opus, FLATTire

Article excerpt

ALLAN HOLDSWORTH'S 2001 ALBUM, FLATTIRE: MUSIC for a Non-Existent Movie [reissued this year by Moonjune], opens with a plaintive guitar solo--the only guitar part on the record--floating over a cacophonous melange of chaotically triggered drum samples awash in reverb, which, intentionally or not, reflected the acute emotional turmoil the composer was undergoing at the time.

"I had just gone through a difficult divorce, and I was feeling very lost and introspective," says Hotdsworth. "I didn't have a recording studio anymore, because I had sold my Trident mixing console and most of my other gear, and I was living in a place where it wasn't possible to record guitar or live drums. So I decided to make a record using only the SynthAxe [synthesizer controller]. But making a 'synthesizer record' was a problem, because I had also sold my Oberheim analog synthesizers, and I only had some Yamaha digital modules. The Yamahas excelled at more percussive-sounding things, while the Oberheims produced fantastic string sounds. They really complemented each other, so not having both was very limiting."

Those limitations notwithstanding, Holdsworth succeeded in creating what is arguably his most personal musical statement. And although the audio quality may not equal that of his other albums, considering what he was working with it is stunning, evidencing the hand of a skilled engineer.

"I've learned a few tricks over the years, so I'm pretty good at compensating for things," he says. "But you can only do that up to a point before you can't go any further. I did have FLATTire mastered at Bernie Grundman Mastering, however, and they always do a fantastic job--regardless of what you give them. …

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