Allan Holdsworth - Flat Tire (2000)
Front Cover Album Info
Artist/Composer Allan Holdsworth
Title Flat Tire
Length 47:30 Discs: 1 Tracks: 9
Format CD Packaging Jewel Case
Label Megazoidal Records Cat. Number [none]
Style Fusion; Progressive Rock Rating
Recorded 2000  at  The House in Capistrano
Musicians Credits
Allan Holdsworth el.guitar, synthaxe
Dave Carpenter acoustic bass
Engineer Chris Bellman
Track list
The Duplicate Man [Intro] 01:52
The Duplicate Man 04:41
Eeny Meeny 04:48 Special Guest Dave Carpenter (Acoustic Bass)
Please Hold On 04:01
Snow Moon 08:04
Curves 05:35
So Long 05:31
Bo Peep 03:46 Special Guest Dave Carpenter (Acoustic Bass)
Don't You Know 09:12
Allan Holdsworth is a paradox. He's nearly unknown to the masses but a mythic figure to guitarists. His thundering dynamics are off-putting to jazz lovers, the cerebral nature of his scales and chords too complicated for most rock fans. Still, fingerstylist Phil Keaggy has described the experience of listening to Holdsworth as "sitting down to a gourmet dinner", and Holdsworth's acoustic work with Gordon Beck on "The Things You See" is one pointed example. His newest CD "Flat Tire" is a solo project, but there is no acoustic guitar as one might presume a solo project to be. These are solo synthesized tone poems that are ambient, as if cinema soundtracks. His runs over the fretboard are dexterity-defying, but longtime Holdsworth fans may feel that the music yearns for Jimmy Johnson's bass and Chad Wackerman's drums. As per usual with Holdsworth, the listener's mindset on "Flat Tire" will require a bit of a paradigm shift in order to bask in this particular work of this creative genius. ©Alan Fark

AMG Review (3):
Flat Tire is a departure in that it is Allan Holdsworth's first unaccompanied record, executed with the Synthaxe guitar synthesizer. Holdsworth uses the instrument not only to play bass lines, string- and choir-like chord swells, and quicksilver single-note lines, but also to trigger drum patches. The result is more of a one-man band effect than a solo guitar performance. Some of the synth sounds are quite reminiscent of his 1987 album Sand. The music is a bit static and repetitive overall, particularly on tracks like "Please Hold On," "So Long," and "Don't You Know," during which single lines flutter over subtly shifting rubato harmonies. The brassy chords that surface during "The Duplicate Man" are perhaps the best example of Holdsworth's sonic creativity. More varied and rewarding are the tempo-based tracks, particularly "Eeny Meeny" and "Bo Peep," both of which feature bassist Dave Carpenter, who played on 2000's excellent The Sixteen Men of Tain. Other highlights include the quasi-African percussion collage of "Snow Moon" and the steady groove and syncopations of "Curves." Certainly not the best introduction to Holdsworth's music, but his die-hard fans will want to pay it close attention. — David R. Adler

Down Beat, April 2002 by Todd S. Jenkins (****):
In the 1980s, Allan Holdsworth was one of the first artists to take the Synthaxe seriously as an improvisational instrument, but only now has he gotten around to making a full-on solo recording with the unwieldy beast. Lush and introspective, Flat Tire is a short, sharp reality check that was well worth the wait.
Longtime fans of Holdsworth's often exuberant compositions might be dismayed at the somber tone of this disc. Almost all the songs are in minor keys, some bittersweet major 7ths are mixed in, and the overall impression is that of a long, hard look at one's foibles and missed opportunities. Not that Flat Tire is a mere pity party, by any means. There is a definite sense of resolve and hope for the future amidst all the reflection.
Holdsworth only plays the guitar on the first track, using it to carve out an aching lament. He devotes the rest of his time to serious exploration of the Synthaxe's potential. A vast array of keyboard, piano and drum effects pour forth to color all the moods of his personal expression. While this disc might not be his most uniformly gripping to date, it features some of his most creative exploitations of the guitar synth. The main theme of "The Duplicate Man" stalks down the alley on a dark brass section, punctuated by electric-piano snips and tiny flits of cymbal. Holdsworth waxes slow and regretful on some tracks, orchestrally brawny on others.
On occasion, the absence of supporting players seems to leave the Synthaxe suspended in midair, wanting for balance. The faux percussion on "Curves" helps to buoy the music's spirit, as does the complementary presence of bassist Dave Carpenter on two tracks. The rest of the time Holdsworth is left alone to play, test and ruminate as he sees fit, sculpting his private art where others might only doodle in the darkness.

Otherworldly, December 29, 2002,
A Kid's Review
Flat tire has a very personal, reflective, searching and atmospheric feel to it. Allan utilizes almost exclusively (except the 1st track) on this disc an interesting and rarely used, almost extinct piece of technology/instrument, the Synthaxe. In fact, the model he uses is long out of production, it's like a musical fossil. Anyway, some pieces and area's of the disc sound very symphonic like 'Don't You Know' but don't be fooled it's just Allan and his Synthaxe, playing knuckle knotty chords and letting the tones sustain, shift, mesh and drift into one another creating huge textures that resemble a 100 violins, amazing. Snow Moon is an epic track jammed with amazing directions and ideas which eventually leads to frantic yet intricate drum programming that follows his out of this world solo lines. Then you have the brassy sounds on 'The Duplicate Man', the jazzy 'Bo Peep', the fun syncopations of 'Curves' (killer track!). Lots of great stuff here, this disc really sticks out and is quite different from anything else in Allan's body of recorded work. I hope there will be a sequel to this movie for your ears. Highlights include; The Duplicate Man, Curves, Bo Peep, and the 2 epic's Snow Moon & Don't You Know.