One of the few guitarists names that have dropped out of my mouth immediately when discussing guitar playing of any kind.
Allan Holdsworth passed away Saturday, April 15, 2017.
I’ve been having a time with it, as I really love his music. It’s not so much that he is a guitarist of unequaled skill and unique sound, but the way he structures chords and writes music is unlike anything I’ve ever heard. I have always thought it sounded pleasing to the ear, but not normal. It is complex but catchy. It was pleasant but warped. He managed to keep things upbeat and twisted at the same time. Whether with any random number of guest singers (all who are talented in their own right to even try singing Holdsworth’s music), or just instrumental, his music always seemed perfectly unique in quality.
YOU KNOW when you hear Holdsworth play, but when you hear him WRITE its a completely unique experience that just pulls on the ear.
This is possibly my favorite Holdsworth song (which is difficult to say) but its the one that stays in my head for reasons I cannot explain in ANY way.
Notice the way the chords and tune of the song slide along in a pleasant and almost sour tone with a stumbling but consistent rhythm. This is his style. It’s like a roller coaster that is happy it just found out how to go upside down. HA! Just amazing. His genius will be missed.
Here’s another all time favorite that he co-wrote with the band U.K. (with John Wetton on vocals/bass, Bill Bruford on drums, Eddie Jobson on keyboard/violin). This whole song from beginning to end is just polluted with Holdsworth writing style. Also, the late great John Wetton will be missed as well (cannot be stated enough, the Don Pardo of Prog Rock).
Even if you only listen to the last half of UK-Nevermore, you will be amazed. It is just THE SOUND of Progressive Rock, without question. Holdsworth was a key to this.
ALL CHANGE !!!
Now the fun part…
I stole a chord from a song off of his album Atavachron (the song is “Looking Glass”) and I contorted my inexperienced fingers on a MIDI keyboard and played the chord and messed with it rhythmically and loop’ily. I made this thing.
This is Holdsworthian2. I would never even THINK of saying it was a tribute, but I’ve been listening to him a lot and this happened. Think of it what you want, but I don’t think I’m done yet. I wanna tweak it more.
This track was done from noon to 3pm. It was done in 9 seperate tracks. I wanted to mess in a different key. I’m not sure what key this is in, as I’m not a musician nor do I have any solid music theory under my belt, but I know there were 1 or 2 black keys that had to be played or things really sounded terribly sour. It has an A, B, and C section (in good old ABACAB pop song format) with this odd unique bit in the middle where I have the sound of radio stations changing, a piano solo, and chanting “for another day” in the MicroKorg vocoder. I was going to do a drum solo there, but I felt the piano solo and vocoder were more pleasant.
Note: THIS IS BEST HEARD IN HEADPHONES. I did a ton of speaker phasing on this thing, so “get out your headphones and get’m cranked up, cause they’re really gonna help you on this one.”
Samson Graphite 49 MIDI keyboard controller (used for drums as well).
MicroKorg (vocoder and strings in the middle break).
Korg MiniKP (on heavy reverb #62) for the vocoder section.
Ableton Live 9 Studio
A strange drum kit in Ableton Live called “Angry When Sober” (the source of the drum sounds themselves).