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Allan Holdsworth - Atavachron CD (album) cover


Allan Holdsworth


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.12 | 56 ratings

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Moogtron III
Prog Reviewer
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 Allan himself or by guest musicians, also have a distinct place on the album, the music has a heavy synth presence.

Allan makes a very imaginative use of the SynthAxe, though. Still, of you don't like a sound which is too synth drenched, the album might not be a good choice for you.

Also: the album has a strong echo on the electronic sounding drums, which is very eighties and not to everyone's taste.

Enough with the warnings: the album is beautiful, both with regard to the compositions as to the playing. And because Chad Wackerman offers a lot of variety on the drums, they seldom sound irritating: on the contrary.

As regard to the compositions: they're all good. Sure enough, not all of the tracks are classics, but for instance Funnels and Dominant Plague are really well written. The center piece of the album seems to be the title track, Atavachron, which is absolutely stunning, very beautiful, especially because of the breath taking synth chords, which keep coming back.

By the way, the album is a good fusion of jazz and rock. The jazz is being offered mostly by Allan's improvising and by the compositions which are really listening music: you won't hum the tunes by most of Allan's music.

Still: drummer Chad Wackerman, with his electronic sounding drum kit, gives the album also a strong rock feel, which is further enhanced by the fact that all the improvisations stand in service of the song, and the song alone. Even Allan's breackneck solo's support the songs.

Although, songs? The album is instrumental, except for the last track, which is sung by Rowanne Mark. The melody lines of that song are very unusual, though: they are really like a slow version of Allan Holdsworth's solos. This would be a common trait for Allan Holdsworth songs.

A very good album, but since Allan Holdsworth would make some more of those, and this one doesn't stand particularly out, except for the historical fact of the introduction of the SynthAxe, I'm only giving it three stars. Still, the album is very enjoyable.

Moogtron III | 3/5 |


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