Against The Clock (album)

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This is a 2-CD compilation released on Alternity Records. The first disc features guitar oriented material from “Metal Fatigue” up to “Tain”. The second features SynthAxe oriented material from “Atavachron” up to “Flat Tire”, in addition to the unreleased bonus tracks “Let’s Throw Shrimp”, which is studio jam with Allan, Chad and Jimmy, and a solo version of “Shenandoah” for SynthAxe and guitar.

A Conversation With Allan Holdsworth (Abstract Logix 2005)

Bill: I’ve lost track of all the labels that you’ve been with in the past 20 years.

Allan: Gnarly Geezer put out The Sixteen Men of Tain album. That was the last studio album that I did. I just put out a compilation (Against The Clock) on another small label, which is Alternity. I think I’m just going to do it myself from now on and put it out through my website.

No Rearview Mirrors (20th Century Guitar 2007)

TCG: Okay, that’s cool. Tell me, is it a 2-CD set called Then, that’s all Synth Axe, or Just for the Curious?

AH: No, it’s called Against the Clock (Alternity Records).

TCG: That’s the compilation.

AH: Yeah, it’s a double CD. One of the discs has the majority of the guitar stuff on it and then the second disc is mostly Synth Axe but there are some guitar tracks on that side as well. We didn’t have room for it on the other CD so we kind of put a couple of guitar tracks at the end of the Synth Axe side. I did an album of my own called Flat Tire. Flat Tire is just a single, it’s not a double-album. It’s a single album and I did it right after my divorce. I didn’t really have a full-on studio set up then so it was...I lost my studio in the process. I was just doing some stuff in this house that I rented in San Juan Capistrano. So a friend of mine had kind of commissioned me to do an album for him but unfortunately, I couldn’t do it as a guitar album, so it ended up being a Synth Axe album,

Harnessing momentum (Innerviews 2008)

You’ve recently been more active in terms of touring and working on new material than you’ve been in years. Why did you pause your career and what’s behind the resurgence of activity?

Things were going well until 1999 when I went through a divorce and that changed everything. I lost my studio and had no way of working, so I was temporarily displaced for the first year or so. I was living with friends, floating around, and things ground to a halt. I went into a big downward slide and didn’t do anything. I wasn’t interested in playing. Meeting Leonardo Pavkovic, who runs the MoonJune label, was the biggest thing in getting my career going again. He’s been amazing in helping me manage a lot of things. I started touring again during the last two years and I’m going to have to tell Leonardo to stop, otherwise he’ll keep me on the road forever. [laughs] I also started working again on two album projects that were never finished. They should both come out in 2008. I also have a few tracks that I’ll be finishing for Chad Wackerman’s new solo album. That one has been going on for awhile too. I did quite a few tracks for it in Australia around the time of the All Night Wrong project. So, I’m now playing catch up. I put out the Against the Clock compilation just to do something. I figured there were enough albums out that we could put out a reasonably good “best of” from them. I thought it was also a good release for people who weren’t familiar with my work.

Facebook comment by Chris Hoard on "Oh, Shenandoah"

Without being too boastful, I can claim some credit for this recording's existence (as co-producer of this track in particular, and ATC). It was one of Allan's few completed studio tracks post-"Flat Tire," and I'd heard him mention it on several occasions in the early 2000s--how he found this quintessential American folk song compelling and its melody haunting and beautiful; We'd talked about it as a potential vehicle for recording his first unaccompanied solo track combining synthaxe and guitar, which he said he wanted to record some day. As I worked with him on the remastering the tracks for ATC, unfortunately due to the fact we didn't have access to the "I.O.U." we'd agreed he'd provide two unreleased tracks for ATC, including Chad Wackerman's recording of an improvised jam, "Let's Throw Shrimp." I asked him if he'd consider "Shenandoah" as the other track, and he liked the idea, as he could completely engineer and record the track in his home studio at that time in San Juan Capistrano. The results, and emotional power of that rendering turned out to be far beyond my expectations--it was Allan using a more intense, seldom if ever heard "minimalist" approach to conjure--to me--something spiritual from one of America's most storied folk songs. He actually recorded an alternate solo guitar version as well--without the chords--and thought about keeping it for some future archival collection--I still have a copy of that (somewhere). Of the various AH recording productions I was involved with between the mid-90s and 2005, this was the one that to me had the most lasting emotional resonance, and was the most unique and moving in hindsight...

Jan 5, 2019