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Ali Ferguson - A Sequence Of Moments CD (album) cover


Ali Ferguson


Crossover Prog

3.92 | 30 ratings

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4 stars Very interesting cinematic prog from Scotsman Ali Ferguson (who previously worked with RAY WILSON in STILTSKIN). The album contains great hypnotic rhythms and lush sonic weaves, great lead guitar passages, nice vocals and collages of media samples that lure one inside and make one think and feel.

1. "Why Are We Whispering?" (10:23) opens with fully half of the song filled with voice samples of television clips on the theme of "there is no God"--which is the exact statement whispered at the 5:40 mark just before all hell breaks loose from the drums, deep, rolling bass, raucous David GILMOUR-like guitar playing off of the wonderful Arabic "prayersong" sung by some uncredited (?!) female vocalist. Great song. Very contemporary. (9/10)

2. "Out Of The Dark" (7:42) synth pops and picked acoustic guitar open this song, setting the stage for the breathy voice of our composer to enter. Congas and other hand percussives soon join in to provide the rhythm track. Eventually, piano, cello, strings and female background vocals also join into the mix, enriching the sound palette but not really grabbing the listener yet. The voice samples beginning at 3:45 are what really attract my attention. The musical support becomes bare, and then drums kick in to pre-empt the arrival of bass and wonderful electric guitar lead. This is the kcik the song needed--and what a guitar solo it is! Superlatives! Air guitarists across the planet will love this one! The slow build was a little drawn out, but the second half really paid off on this one. (10/10)

3. "A Sequence Of Moments" (8:46) with the opening phone sample of a wife putting her toddler daughter on the phone to say ,"Hi Daddy, I just wanted to know what time you're coming home," slays me! Then the peaceful washes of synths and electronic percussives supporting the breathy and emotional lead vocal: it's great! By the time the full band palette arrives I find myself feeling quite a bit that I am back in ALAN PARSONS PROJECT's I Robot album. The ensuing guitar solo reminded of (9/10) 4. "The Realisation" (5:55) opens with more spacey synth background sounds--over which the spoken voice of KERSTIE BARR philosophizes. Then a DAVID GILMOUR-esque blues guitar enters the spaciousness to eek out some beautifully textured notes. At the three minute mark Kerstie returns to continue her story. Like STEVEN WILSON's "A Perfect Life" I find myself fascinated and fully engaged. I don't know where the sci-fi passage being read is from, but it's got me locked in. (9/10)

5. "Is This Enlightenment?" (6:25) opens with a KLAUS SCHULZE-like programmed synthesizer sequence over which a tape of a television coverage of the 2015 Connecticut school shootings plays. Ali's distorted, whispery voice follows and mixes with other political tapes before a kind of buzzing-wind instrument segues us into a section that is founded in a trip-hoppy programmed rhythm track. More vocal news tapes follow before a nice Spanish guitar solo takes the lead. Arabic synth chord progressions fill out the background with a clay drum playing a calming rhythm beneath and then in the middle of the fifth minute a crescendo of multiple instruments crescendoes before things calm down and the religion-oriented samples return. Cool song! (9/10)

6. "Into Falling Stars" (6:23) employs the weakest vocal on the album--a breathy, too-heavily treated DAVID GIMOUR- like performance. The accompanying music is okay, a bit too slow, too spacious--almost bare. A nice two-part guitar solo in the second half isn't enough to save or boost this one. (7/10)

7. "All In The Winds" (9:05) opens with a very slow, spacey PINK FLOYD-like feel--all created by programmed keyboards. A "Wish You Were Here" solo electric guitar sound enters at the end of the third minute and then drums, bass and whispery female background vocals (KIM SHEPHERD) join in to accompany the whispery male lead vocal. At 5:07 a fast-paced "radio" drum loop enters and is eventually joined/matched by the "live" (fwd) rhythm tracks. Then the "Perfect Life"-like female spoken voice from song 5 ("Realisation"; KERSTIE BARR)) takes center stage. At the end of the seventh minute a DAVID GILMOUR "On the Run" -like slide guitar solo takes over the lead over the near-disco rhythm tracks. This quiets down into a fade at the end while bird song is heard. (8/10)

8. "The Lost Satellites" (8:44) opens with a little Berlin School of Electronic Music style programmed synth rhythm track while a tape of some dialogue with astronauts in space plays. One nice thing about the voice samples on this album which, quite honestly, puts Ali in a class by himself, is the wonderful clarity of all of the samples used: I can actually understand the radio, television, and spoken voice passages throughout. When the song really kicks in it again feels like something off of STEVEN WILSON's Hand. Cannot. Erase.-- especially because of the whispery female (Kim SHEPHERD) vocals mirroring Ali's leads. SW's album must have been quite an inspiration to Ali! Nice laid back, almost MArk KNOPFLERish guitar solo fills most of a minute in the sixth and seventh minutes before accompanying in the background the play out of the vocalists to the end. (8/10)

9. "Above This Fractured Earth" (8:37) begins with yet another spacey musical accompaniment to a rather long sample of a child at play, in monologue. When Ali's breathy lead vocal enters we are well into the third minute; when his bluesy electric guitar takes up the lead we are well into the fifth minute. Okay song that is highpointed, for me, by the children's voices at the beginning. (8/10)

Fresh Neo Prog with a relevant message; music to easily get sucked into, to get lost within, to help pass time in a very enjoyable way. There are no "bad" songs on the album, nor are there any weak ones. They are all strong, interesting and eminently engaging. I appreciate the space themes and the use of samples illustrating some of the things that are most beautiful and most ugly about the patterns and activities of our human race; Ali's points are poignant and well-taken.

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |


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