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Allan Holdsworth

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Allan Holdsworth


Holdsworth had quite an apprenticeship before recording a string of successful solo albums including the wicked Metal Fatigue and I.O.U.. He worked in pioneering Fusion and Progressive Rock bands, blazing away with slinky complexity on albums by Soft Machine, Gong and Tony Williams' second version of Lifetime. His unorthodox choice of guitars -- including the oft-maligned headless Steinberger, the cheesy-keyboard-like SynthAxe and a deep-toned baritone guitar -- all have contributed to a sound that is unlike that of any other guitarist. His extremely dexterous, spider-like fingers work their way over instruments that sustain and bend with a sound that seems to come from a saxophone. That combined with some of the most unique, individualistic and complicated phrasing, Holdsworth's style has often been compared to John Coltrane. But let's not get carried away -- as a pure guitarist, Holdsworth is intensely talented, playing with purer technique and originality than just about any other electric guitarist. However, his choices of lousy backing and completely-on-or-completely-off songwriting often undermine his immense talent -- it's the glimmers of brilliance that make waiting through a lousy song worthwhile.
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