Highlights from Allan and the 16 keepers of the secret

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These are some highlights from Allan and the 16 keepers of the secret. Take note that the article is machine translated.

“The Sixteen Men Of Tain”

When I wrote that piece I felt a festive feeling, a festive sound, like Christmas; even if I hate Christmas! And every time I think about parties, alcohol immediately comes to mind, of course. A way to relax and have fun, which is part of the game. And one of my favorites, really my favorite is the 18-year-old Glenmorangie, great whiskey. There are also 10 and 12 year vintages, but the 18-year-old is ... mega.

That title, "The Sixteen Men Of Tain" intrigued me; I liked its sound, and it suited that kind of festive feeling for that song; since the sequence of chords is very long, and also a twisted pinch; it's fun, there's an A, a B, a C section, and two of the central sections rotate. It is easy to get lost; because the form is not exactly repeated. So I thought it was just how you feel when you got yourself some ales (beers). A perfect title for that song.

Q: Still on the track "The Sixteen Men Of Tain", [it] is not easy to follow the meter, it seems in 3, which is then repeated 5 times, then everything is mixed, then ... you get lost ...

Oh good! (laughter) then it works! This is the feeling you get after a bottle of Glenmorangie (loud laughter).

Close voicings

Q: So all these second, fourth, clusters ('bunches' of chords), did you find yourself all by yourself, by ear, without any outside inspiration?

More or less. Obviously everyone has references; perhaps my inspiration was more Oliver Nelson, the saxophonist who made an album called The Blues And The Abstract Truth, [1961]; I liked Oliver Nelson and he was one of the first to hear that I used these 'close voicings'.

“The drums were yellow”

Originally there was also the bass; we played all three together; it is a song that came out like this, spontaneous, and in the end I left out the bass part; I listened without it and liked it. So I mixed the song without bass. I thought that the dialogue between guitar and drums worked, and didn't need the bass; I don't miss the bass on this track. It was Dave Carpenter, after I had removed the bass, who suggested to dedicate the song to Tony; I thought of the title "The Moon Was Almost Yellow"; but he came up with "The Drums Were Yellow" which then remained; a perfect tribute for Tony, and for his yellow drums. And the reason it is called "The Drums Were Yellow" is because when we played it, almost by accident, but not by accident, I played a small section of "The Moon Was Yellow", when the distorted guitar does (sings).

Recording double bass

My studio is so small that the double bass doesn't enter the same room with the drums, so even though all three of them are playing together, Dave played the electric bass though. Then, having chosen the tracks, he overdubbed the double bass. He did a great job, because it is very difficult to overdub an acoustic bass on a song that is spontaneous improvisation, because you will never be able to do the same thing you don't know what you saw [that you improvised it at the moment].


Q: There is an unusually heavy riff at the beginning of "Texas", the only one - are you moving away from this kind of thing or is it just a period? The whole album is actually less rock.

I wrote that piece for a demonstration of instruments in my friend's music store in Texas. At the beginning of the solo I started deliberately with a blues style, Texan (imitates Texan slang), a game[playing], like ZZ Top.


Q: "Eidolon", what does that mean?

I used it like a label for things on Synthaxe; I have always thought of Synthaxe as a tool that is not really real; by eidolon I mean a ghost image, an apparition, is [it] there or isn't [it] there?

“Snakes And Ladders”

Q: What is this story that you already have another record ready?

It's true; the reason The Sixteen Man Of Tain took so long is because I didn't have a recording contract, no one to give it to (recommended: a little thought about the differences between imaginary lives and the real daily existence of our heroes, ed.); now I have a contract for three records. Gary (Husband) is coming to a point where he only plays the piano, he doesn't want to play the drums anymore; and Jimmy (Johnson) had a break from touring with James Taylor; a unique opportunity; so we got together and went to a real studio.

Q: When is the release scheduled?

Let's say six months, not before. But I no longer want to have to wait for these five-year periods between discs.