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About the Music:
Art of Life Records is pleased to present, “Above and Below: The Music of Allan Holdsworth - Volume 1”. Featuring twenty five different musicians from around the globe, “Above and Below” was conceived as a tribute to the late guitarist Allan Holdsworth and his unique original compositions. Rather than perform Allan’s music note-for-note, each artist has interpreted each of Allan’s songs in their own unique way making the songs their own and in many cases creating new versions of Allan’s songs that bear little if any resemblance to their originals making this album a real tribute to Allan and his music. Stay tuned for “Above and Below: The Music of Allan Holdsworth - Volume 2” which will be a continuation of “Volume 1” and include a different cast of musicians than those that appeared on “Volume 1”.
Produced by Leandro Kalén & Paul G. Kohler for Art of Life Records.
I remember in my childhood that we had at home two records that Allan Holdsworth appeared on, Bruford's "One of a Kind" and "Feels Good to Me”. I seem to remember that I also got my hands on the album "Metal Fatigue" during those years. The first time I heard and paid attention to Allan's guitar style I thought, "This guy plays with more than 12 notes, no way”! The combination of his compositional and improvisational style with his very particular and expressive sound immediately captivated me. His music accompanied me for a good part of my adolescence and became fundamentally relevant when I started to grow into adulthood. When I recorded my first album "Mecánica Celeste" in 2015, I paid tribute to him by trying to emulate some of his guitar sounds in a track featuring the legendary Hermeto Pascoal. After 2017, I thought for a long time about carrying out a project that honors the dimension of his work with the widest possible perspective, emphasizing the artist, the composer, the innovator, rather than the "virtuoso guitarist", a conception in which thousands of copies are usually stacked. A virtuoso is just another virtuoso if there is no identity. This is why I thought of summoning artists with their own voice to appropriate the material and reinterpret it in their own way. I chose musicians from different parts of the world, not only guitarists, but also women (the jazz scene in Argentina is still conservative), experimental musicians and so on. Producing and curating events and albums is one of the things that most internally tickles my neurons, a sort of synonym of pleasure and happiness. It allows me to generate rhizomes, enhance and translate images, bring them to the visible and tangible, unite things that seem hopelessly distant; in short, I am almost convinced that ideas do not belong entirely to one, but that we function as a kind of lightning rod or portable power plant that, through its internal combustion capacity, imagines, spins and transforms what it sees, hears and feels. I started in 2020 to work hard on this experience when I met Paul G. Kohler, the founder and owner of Art of Life Records, who very generously accompanied and advised me. The result is "Above and Below: The Music of Allan Holdsworth", a two-volume compendium of varied and personal readings on the work of someone who, more than an artist, I consider a concept in itself. I am enormously grateful to Paul, the participating artists and to my friends. For you, Allan. ~ Leandro Kalén
Back in July of 2020 I received an email from a musician from Argentina named Leandro Kalén. Leandro was reaching out to let me know that he was a musician and that he was available as a session player in the event that we needed any musicians to record music for any of our upcoming releases. At the bottom of his email he mentioned that he had started working on a tribute to Allan Holdsworth album. This immediately caught my attention as for several months I had had this very idea and in fact had been previously approached by another group of musicians that were interested in doing a tribute to Allan as well. My idea and vision for what I considered to be a proper tribute to Allan and his music was much different than what most musicians had in mind in that I was not interested in hearing someone play Allan’s music note-for-note and then simply adding their own solos to it. My conception was to have different artists interpret Allan’s music in their own unique way by allowing them to use their own ideas and simply use Allan’s compositions as a starting point and allowing the music to go where it wanted to go. I replied to Leandro’s email and explained to him my concept for a tribute to Allan and his music and was pleasantly surprised to learn that we were both on the same page! Leandro had already begun the process of reaching out to many different musicians all over the world to see who might be interested in contributing to the project, most of whom agreed and can be heard on “Volume 1”. Two years later we received fourteen tracks performed by twenty five different musicians. The fourteen songs on “Volume 1” represent music from nine of Allan’s albums as a leader. The end result was exactly what I had hoped for: A unique approach and new interpretations of Allan’s music. Many of the musicians used instruments, including acoustic based instruments, that had never been used in Allan’s music before but even more interesting were the stylistic approaches used to create these new interpretations: Ambient, Electronic, World, Fusion, Funk, Jazz etc… Nearly half of the songs on “Volume 1” don’t have any guitar on them at all and instead use instruments such as vibes, bandeon, saxophone, tabla drums, piano and looping. This makes for an even more interesting listening experience as previous expectations are replaced with new instruments and new sounds. One of Allan’s most famous quotes was, “At the end of the day, clones don’t count…”. Rest assured, you won’t find any clones here and I think Allan would have preferred it that way. ~ Paul G. Kohler, Art of Life Records
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