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ATAVACHRON

Allan Holdsworth

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Allan Holdsworth Atavachron album cover
2.94 | 27 ratings | 7 reviews | 11% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 1986

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Non brewed condiment (3:39)
2. Funnels (6:10)
3. The dominant plague (5:41)
4. Atavachron (4:45)
5. Looking glass (4:31)
6. Mr. Berwell (6:21)
7. All our yesterdays (5:25)

Total Time: 36:32

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Allan Holdsworth / guitar, synthaxe guitar synthesizer
- Billy Childs / keyboards (2-5)
- Gary Husband / drums (1-4-6)
- Jimmy Johnson / bass (1 to 6)
- Rowanne Mark / vocals (7)
- Alan Pasqua / keyboards (3-4-6)
- Chad Wackerman / drums (3-7)
- Tony Williams / drums

Releases information

Lp: Enigma Records 2064 / Lp/Cd: Enigma 73203

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ALLAN HOLDSWORTH Atavachron ratings distribution


2.94
(27 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(11%)
11%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
41%
Good, but non-essential (30%)
30%
Collectors/fans only (19%)
19%
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)
0%

ALLAN HOLDSWORTH Atavachron reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by The Owl
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars This is another Holdsy disc I have a devil of a time with, again mainly because it's soooo screamingly synth-drenched and rather dated-sounding in an obnoxiously 1980's sort of way, rather hard on the ears. What doesn't help is the excessively glossy digital production and the over-reliance on digital electronics.

However, there are some good standout tracks like "Funnels" (featuring some beautiful chord-melody work from Allan), the title track and "Looking Glass", a beautifully complex and yet melodic piece featuring Allan's one-time musical employer Tony Williams playing his butt off!

The rest left me very cold though. "Dominant Plague" and "All Our Yesterdays" are definitely HIT THE SKIP BUTTON kind of tracks, suffering from very typical 80's mechanical drone tendencies ("--Plagues") and a rather severe case of disjointedness and lack of clear direction ("All Our Yesterdays"). ""Non Brewed Condiment" fulfills the "barn-burner" function quite nicely, but that obnoxious Synth-Axe makes it so hard to sit through. "Mr Berwell" just seemed to lack any real substance, more like a "going through the motions" neo-symph-prog exercise that just doesn't catch fire.

Thankfully, Allan has done far superior albums to this one, it has its moments but for the first-timer, don't start here!

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Send comments to The Owl (BETA) | Report this review (#29425) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Review by Dan Bobrowski
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I remember buying this around the same time that Lee Ritenour released "Earth Run." Each disc features a new instrument, the synthaxe, a guitar styled synth controller. "Earth Run" sounded like a guy playing a synth where guitar parts should have been. Atavachron sounds like nothing you've ever heard. I was grabbed right off and played the LP constantly for weeks, until the vinyl began to wear and the pops and clicks became annoying. Atavachron changed the way I listened to Allan Holdsworth and music in general. I had to put away the "Guitar God" image and adopt a view of Allan as a composer. I believe this disc helped me grow as a listener. I had to dig deeper to understand what is being played, to tell the difference between Alan Pasqua's beatiful keyboard and this new contraption, the synthaxe. I found the new instrument to be exciting and unique. Allan was playing flute tones in guitar space. Wow!

On the whole, there is a sameness to the production that can be tiresome, but some of the tunes are still played live, the melodies evolving and fresh. Each piece is a standout to me, except for the last track, which doesn't fit and I regularly skip.

Allan has been working on the remastering of his releases, but some of the master tapes of this disc have been damaged and are beyond repair. A couple of tracks are on the new Best Of: Against the Clock compilation came from this disc. Maybe he'll re-record them, ala, Tokyo Dream? Wouldn't that be great!

This is a landmark album, but be sure to do some homework before you attempt it.

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Send comments to Dan Bobrowski (BETA) | Report this review (#29427) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
2 stars The dominant plague

I enjoy Allan Holdsworth's unique guitar tone, but I honestly cannot enjoy the majority of his solo output very much as he is not a very strong composer and most of his music comes off as just endless "noodling" and unfocused sonic experimentation. Not really my cup of tea at all, I must say. I have always enjoyed Holdsworth best when he was a band player, particularly when he was a member of UK in the late 70's with John Wetton, Eddie Jobson and Bill Bruford. In that group the melodic sensibilities and songwriting skills of Wetton could counterbalance the Jazz-Rock indulgences of Bruford and Holdsworth while the latter two brought an adventurous edge to the former. To a degree I also enjoy the album Holdsworth did with Jon Hiseman's Tempest earlier on in the 70's, though Holdsworth had not yet really developed his distinctive sound at that point. Much more recently, Holdsworth worked with a US-based group called K2 who recorded an excellent Symphonic Prog album in 2005 that featured plenty of his distinctive guitar playing but beneficially restrained by a band environment.

The present album from 1986 was the follow up to Metal Fatigue from the previous year. Metal Fatigue is by far Holdsworth's best solo album and Atavachron is certainly a disappointment in comparison. Indeed, comparing this album to anything else Holdsworth had made up to that point (that I have heard), solo or in different bands, this comes off as rather weak. However, this is also very different in style so maybe it is not fair or even possible to really compare in this way. The present album saw him experimenting with his (in)famous SynthAxe for the first time, an instrument that is a mix between a guitar and a synthesiser and is depicted on the weird cover art picture. This is indeed an interesting instrument and the distinctive sound it produces is appealing in moderate doses.

Atavachron is almost entirely instrumental but the last number features female vocals. In a way this last piece is the most conventional, but at the same time it is perhaps also the most experimental of them all due to a rather strange middle section. I generally prefer the instrumental tracks. In addition to guitars and SynthAxe we find here keyboards, drums and bass played with skill by different people.

Overall, Atavachron is an interesting album but I find it hard to see it as anything over and above a curiosity. It is listenable, partly enjoyable and worthwhile for anyone with a special interest in Holdsworth's experimental Jazz-Rock style. For the average Prog fan, however, this is not really recommended.

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#270957) | Review Permalink
Posted Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Review by snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I own almost every Holdsworth's album, and I can declare it's extremely rare if his work sounds boring. Pity to say, but this album is like that. Holdsorth uses there his beloved at that period of time Synth-Axe guitar synthesizer ( half-sax, half-keyboard, half guitar), and he really could play very polyphonic music .

I believe, he was very interested with new sound and new possibilities. This his work is evidence. But main problem is who else is interested in listening this experiments in sounds. For unprepared listener this music sounds as mix of guitar (less) and synthesizer (more) sounds, without melody, structure or any inside logic. When you know all story about Synth-Axe used there, it gives some additional attraction. But even in that case you will be very soon bored by not very usual guitar sounds, but sounding without special sense.

Possibly, could be interesting for musicians, some heavy fans, but generally it is one of weakest Holdsworth albums ever.

Two and half.

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#273801) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
4 stars I don't understand the hate, or at least disdain directed at this album. Is it the incredible nerdiness of the cover, which has a painting depicting Allan Holdsworth in a Star Trek-like uniform, holding his new toy, a Synthaxe MIDI controller? It can't be the music, which is similar in structure to most of Holdsworth's releases, and as usually, expertly performed.

I'll admit, I have to be in the right mood to listen to a Holdsworth album. His compositional style, which consists of chords that sometimes sound strung together in random fashion, is demanding for the listener, and if you are not in the correct frame of mind, often tedious.

Nonetheless, if you have the energy to follow the songs, it can be quite rewarding. Holdsworth's songs take you where no other guitarist goes, and his fluid soloing over difficult to master chord progressions is just amazing.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#514246) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, September 04, 2011

Latest members reviews

3 stars This is the first of Holdsworth' albums where he makes an extensive use of the SynthAxe, a guitar synthesizer. Allan does play guitar on this album as well, but the ephasis lies on the SynthAxe. Since a SynthAxe sounds more like a synthesizer than like a guitar, and since keyboards, played by Al ... (read more)

Report this review (#191130) | Posted by Moogtron III | Sunday, November 30, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Owl could not be more wrong. "Atavachron" is a masterpiece from beginning to end, every bit as strong as "Metal Fatigue." Holdsworth use of the synth axe was truly revolutionary, showing the world just how cool guitar synths could be. I concede that the album has not quite held up as well o ... (read more)

Report this review (#29426) | Posted by | Sunday, February 27, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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