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Allan Holdsworth

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Allan Holdsworth Flat Tire album cover
2.82 | 30 ratings | 5 reviews | 13% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2001

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Duplicate Man [Intro] (1:51)
2. The Duplicate Man (4:37)
3. Eeny Meeny (4:43)
4. Please Hold On (3:56)
5. Snow Moon (7:59)
6. Curves (5:31)
7. So Long (5:27)
8. Bo Peep (3:42)
9. Don't You Know (9:12)

Total time 46:58

Line-up / Musicians

- Allan Holdsworth / SynthAxe, guitar, drum programming, producer & mixing

- Dave Carpenter / acoustic bass (3,8)

Releases information

Sub-titled "Music For A Non-Existing Movie"

CD Megazoidal Records ‎- none (2001, US)
CD Moonjune Records ‎- MJR053 (2013, US)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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ALLAN HOLDSWORTH Flat Tire ratings distribution

(30 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(13%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(3%)
Good, but non-essential (53%)
Collectors/fans only (23%)
Poor. Only for completionists (7%)

ALLAN HOLDSWORTH Flat Tire reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Dick Heath
3 stars As a consumate Holdsworth fan, while my only musical accomplishment is virtuoso CD playing, I find this the most difficult of Allan's albums to listen to. (The 3 star rating is an average of what I personally think and what I've read by others on the album). Elsewhere there have been rave reviews, significantly from guitarists - hence I have come to believe this is an album for musos. The album seems almost a compilation of those most difficult tracks found on his 80's and 90's records, those track which were about demonstrating virtuosity, with the tune being no more than the vehicle for this - in other words I can't remember the melody of any tune here. Isolated on other albums, those tunes gave breadth and depth, but in forming all of the compositions on "Spare Tire", I find there is one helluva lot of depth and abstraction, with little other in the way of musical variety. This too is Allan's Synthaxe album. The Synthaxe splits the Holdsworth fan base in two: those who like it and those who would only want to hear his unique guitarwork. Again (and I've said this about the other guitar synth prize winner, Pat Metheny), if you want to have the sound of keyboards, harmonica or trumpet (imitated elsewhere and immediately coming to mind) surely the real thing is better that trying to conjure it from the 6 strings of a guitar?

In summary if you are a guitar muso, then this may be for you. If you have been turned off by the Synthaxe before, don't go this way.

Review by Dan Bobrowski
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Collectors and fans only... My suggestion is for you to buy "Metal Fatigue," "Secrets" and the "Sixteen Men of Tain." Listen, learn to appreciate an acquired taste. Study the sounds, complex melodies and unearthly rhythms. Get to know the man; read the many bios, articles and comments by guitarists and guitar historians. After you've become well versed, seek and find Flat Tire... Only then can you unlock the beauty of this disc. On first listen I was completely underwhelmed. The Synthaxe is not your everyday instrument. It's a bit harsh and cold at first. It took me a while to accept the sound and get to the music.

This is the one man show, much like the guy with a kick drum, accordian and harmonica. Allan plays all the drum parts using the Synth triggers, a tube that Allan blows through, controls the power of a note and adds sustain. The tunes really dance and flow with an emotion which is deep and personal. You must keep in mind that this album serves as a soundtrack, the actual sub-title is: "Music for a Non-Existent Movie." There are a lot of ambient passages and chord washes that swell and spin, but Allan's solos are lilting and fiery.

Dave Carpenter adds bass on two tracks, which gives those tracks a bit of warmth which is missing throughout.

Check out the 4 star Allan Holdsworth discs first. If you can't get enough, then get this one.

Review by kev rowland
3 stars After suffering a difficult divorce, Allan had sold most of his gear and had no access to a studio. In addition, the house he was now renting wasn't suitable for recording live guitar or drums, so he decided to take the opportunity to make a record using only the SynthAxe. Of course, he had also sold most of his synthesisers so only had access to certain sounds. The subtitle of this album is 'Music for a non-existent movie', as Allan decided to record music that would fit the scenes that he could imagine in his head. The result is something that is certainly unusual, although it would take a braver man than me to say that it was 100% successful. The problem in many ways is due to the instrumentation being deployed, as it comes across as a synth album yet without the depth that one would normally expect. It is a very stripped sound, yet this approach clashes with the sounds being heard so it doesn't really work as a synth album, nor as a guitar album (which in fairness it isn't ' although it was recorded by Allan playing a guitar- type instrument, if that makes any sense). Most of the reviews I have read come to the same conclusion as me, in that Allan is one of the most incredible and versatile musicians you will ever come across, but that this is most definitely not the place to start. It's great that MoonJune have made it available again, especially with Barry Cleveland's insightful (as always) comments, but this is an album that I played repeatedly as I felt I needed to so that I could write a fair review as opposed to playing it because I loved it. For more details visit
Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars UK artist Allan HOLDSWORTH is among the living legends in the world of music. A musician especially renowned by fellow musicians and music insiders, his output has been a source of inspiration for a vast multitude of artists and admired by even more. He's been a member of many notable bands over the years, but it is as a solo artist he is best known. "FlatTire" is a studio album first released in 2001. In 2013 it was reissued by the US label Moonjune Records.

"FlatTire" comes across as a slightly flawed production, or at least one where the qualities have faded with time. Mainly due to the synthesizer sounds, which are much more sterile and cold than the sounds produced by contemporary synthesizer setups. Instrumentalists will still have a field day in listening to this material, considering how the music is performed on a guitar synthesizer, but others should approach this album with a bit of caution. As far as the material is concerned it's fairly equally divided between what I'd describe as film score music and jazz rock, both styles explored with the expertise you'd expect from an artist of Holdsworth's stature, but with the sterile sounding instrument sounds at least for me a detrimental feature.

Latest members reviews

3 stars In order to adequately understand this review, I will try and very briefly explain what a SynthAxe is and does. Back in the 80's this instrument was invented. It looked like something that fell out of a UFO. It was guitar-like with sets of strings, and other onboard controls that allowed the trigger ... (read more)

Report this review (#2581948) | Posted by JazzFusionGuy | Wednesday, July 28, 2021 | Review Permanlink

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