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Reverend Secret Flower
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, so i see him listed as tons of guys influances and people constantly talk about how great he is. I breifly listened to some of his stuff years ago but it all sounded like ugly, random jibberish. So recently i decided to give him a go again, but i just dont get it at all.

I thought maybe i got something uninspired of his the first run through, but listening again, his music is HIDIOUS. Its so random and ugly. It sounds like someone who has amazing chops but with the most horrible note choice and ugly chords i'v ever heard.

So what gives? Why am i not seeing the greatness. Pershapse he has some works that are easier to bridge into his style that i could check out? I just listen to a few of the guys that list him as an influance and dont see the resemblance. Most of the influanced guys have melody and rythem and the only part of their music that i see that mixes with his are the ugly parts that give the melody the finger
 

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Nerdington Willoughby
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I think it's an either/or with Holdsworth. What I love about his solos is how creative and unpredictable they are. I never know where he's going next, and I love that. And he hardly ever reuses phrases. If he does, it's just enough to hint at a theme, then change it.

Here's one solo, in particular, that I just love:


The solo starts about half-way through the tune.
 

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Reverend Secret Flower
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
^ see, when i listened to that solo, i just couldnt grab onto it. it seemed that there wasnt really any root melody behind it but just random bass flurrys that didnt make sense and the drums are just cymbol taps. I guess i just need a bit more melody to bite on to.
 

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Reverend Secret Flower
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
i think the thing thats really interesting me is that the guys that label him as influances have some crazy cool chords. And i hear alot of awesome chrods from allens stuff, i just dont like the arrangements.
 

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He's the Gorguts of jazz, you love him or hate him.
I think it has more to do with his 80s synth porn backing track songs, which totally ruin the inspired, amazing lead playing for me :lol:

The other peeve of mine, is he gives the songs all the crazy names, none of which are invoked by any part of the song. "Tokyo Dream" doesnt sound anymore exotic than "Funnels", one being written about, presumably, something Japanese, and the other being written about boat exhausts. House of Mirrors doesnt really invoke anything more mysterious than the other two. I just wonder where he comes up with the names.
 

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Super Moderator
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I really like the way he writes solos. :shrug: I'm not a big fan of the backing guitar in a lot of his songs, but his solos are really original. They are hard to imagine where they go and they flow in a real smooth but discordant manner.

And I can really see his influence in a lot of metal guitarists such as Frederik Thordendal from Meshuggah and Paul Masvidal from Cynic.

I remember seeing him doing a clinic and really disliking the music, but then checking out some of his recorded music and really liking it.
 

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Super Moderator
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The other peeve of mine, is he gives the songs all the crazy names, none of which are invoked by any part of the song. "Tokyo Dream" doesnt sound anymore exotic than "Funnels", one being written about, presumably, something Japanese, and the other being written about boat exhausts. House of Mirrors doesnt really invoke anything more mysterious than the other two. I just wonder where he comes up with the names.
Tokyo Dream is one of my favorite songs by him, but it doesn't use any Japanese (or Oriental) scales and there are no lyrics, so it's hard to tell why he picked the name. :shrug:

 

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What can I say, I'm a fan. I think you have to like abstraction to really dig his music--he doesn't provide that many "sign posts," if you will. There are lots of both jazz and rock fans who can't get into that sort of thing, and it's all a matter of taste.

My biggest criticism of Allan is that he doesn't put enough rough edges into his soloing. He's inspired by Coltrane, but I never get the feeling that he is willing to let it all hang out and make a bunch of crazy noise the way Coltrane did. Maybe Allan has a little too much English reserve, that way.

7_strings_of_affability, you might like the self-titled album by the band UK, which was Allan playing in a total rock context with some prog heavyweights (Bill Bruford, John Wetton and Eddie Jobson).
 

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GoDDDammit.
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My biggest criticism of Allan is that he doesn't put enough rough edges into his soloing. He's inspired by Coltrane, but I never get the feeling that he is willing to let it all hang out and make a bunch of crazy noise the way Coltrane did. Maybe Allan has a little too much English reserve, that way.
I think his technique (and his gear) has been tailored so closely to his "saxaphone on guitar" style that he probably couldn't at this point, even if he wanted to. He knew what he wanted from the very beginning and ever since then he's just gone deeper down the rabbit-hole. Works for me.

Anyway, Allan's the guy to beat as far as I'm concerned. Ridiculous technique, harmonies that are ballsy yet non-commital and absolutely untouchable when it comes to improvisation. Plenty have made me want to play but he's the only person who's made me want to quit.
 

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I was going to respond to this, but I forgot.

7 strings of affability said:
I breifly listened to some of his stuff years ago but it all sounded like ugly, random jibberish.
If you think it sounds like random gibberish, then that tells me that you never play in scales like diminished or augmented and that you obviously haven't listened to much abstract jazz.

I've been a fan of organized discordance since I was in junior high and a lot of the music I write is built around contrast between melodies/harmonies and discordance. Melodic use of the tritone and so on.

It's fine if you don't like it, but it's definitely not random... or gibberish... :ugh:

Although I think that Derek Bailey probably is random... but that was the whole point of his music, I think.
 

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Guitarist/The Purge
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Thing to remember is that Holdsworth plays the guitar like it was a saxophone, so if you don't appreciate saxophone note choices, you probably won't like his playing.

He's a god in my eyes.

Don't agree with him having 'English reserve', his playing is pretty insane in places.

Tokyo Dream is one of my favorite songs by him, but it doesn't use any Japanese (or Oriental) scales and there are no lyrics, so it's hard to tell why he picked the name. :shrug:

YouTube - Tokyo Dream
The tapping bit sounds pentatonic to me, I can hear the oriental influence :shrug:
 

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Premium Member
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Tokyo Dream is one of my favorite songs by him, but it doesn't use any Japanese (or Oriental) scales and there are no lyrics, so it's hard to tell why he picked the name. :shrug:

YouTube - Tokyo Dream
I think the bit at the start of that video might tell you why he picked the name.
 

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I am Groot
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32,450 Posts
My biggest criticism of Allan is that he doesn't put enough rough edges into his soloing. He's inspired by Coltrane, but I never get the feeling that he is willing to let it all hang out and make a bunch of crazy noise the way Coltrane did. Maybe Allan has a little too much English reserve, that way.
This is why I never could get into him. I get what he is going for, but I tend to like soloists who have that "release" to their playing, giving everything a sense of wild abandon. John McLaughlin had that when playing with the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Al Di Meola had it with Return to Forever. Carlos Santana has it in spades, and I hear plenty of it the late-80s, early 90s Chris Poland. Sadly, it much more common in bluesier players, since the idiom practically demands it. It seems like jazz fusion lost a lot of the fire somewhere along the way.

I think Sonny Sharrock trumps all of them, but if Holdsworth sounds like gibberish to 7SoH... :lol:
 
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