Kevin Ferguson | Subtle Hint

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Rock: Post-Rock/Experimental Classical: Bach Moods: Mood: Virtuoso
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Subtle Hint

by Kevin Ferguson

Ferguson's third CD release, "SUBTLE HINT," has nearly 80 minutes of 20 recordings including fiery virtuoso electric guitar renditions of classical, gypsie jazz and exotic world tunes as in his first and second CD's respectively, as well as entering new t
Genre: Rock: Post-Rock/Experimental
Release Date: 

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1. Liberation
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3:48 $0.99
2. Fugued Rachenitsa
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3:24 $0.99
3. Chaconne (Bach, Abridged)
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6:23 $0.99
4. Technology Has Replaced Us All
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3:21 $0.99
5. Kedar Tease
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11:26 $0.99
6. Ben's Journey
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3:38 $0.99
7. Gotchya Cha Cha
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3:42 $0.99
8. Dante's Nightmare
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2:50 $0.99
9. Awaiting The Past
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5:14 $0.99
10. Morrie's Pie
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3:31 $0.99
11. A Fleeting Passion
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1:30 $0.99
12. Dafino Vino Tsrveno (Beranche)
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4:27 $0.99
13. Introduction And Rondo Capriccioso
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3:34 $0.99
14. Heated Discussions
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3:19 $0.99
15. Mayday Macedonia
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3:45 $0.99
16. Vivaldi Style (Violin Concerto in D)
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2:26 $0.99
17. Ubava Pizza Rachenizza
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2:18 $0.99
18. A Night In Portland
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3:58 $0.99
19. So Much For Justice
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2:46 $0.99
20. Never Been To New Orleans
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
"SUBTLE HINT" is Ferguson's CD release, the 3rd.
Electric and acoustic sounds from his guitars are heard.

From rock and jazz and classical, Romantic & Baroque,
To Hindustani rag, Eastern European Folk,

And many more a genre are explored and rendered here,
Mixed and blended, found, invented, all for you to hear,

With saxist Noah Peterson, Chris Goldthorpe on the bass,
Drummer Kevin Cosgrove, tabla-ist Tzara keeping pace.

Eighty minutes, twenty tunes, all in their finished state,
Many nice suprises there, within the tracks, await.

Subtle Hint Tracks:

1) Liberation (K. Ferguson) - Passion for what it should be, a twist of irony bespoke...
2) Fugued Rachenitsa (K. Ferguson) - Modern electric fusion of Baroque & Eastern European Folk
3) Chaconne - Chaconne by J. Sebastian Bach , performed on an electric axe.
4) Technology Has Replaced Us All (K. Ferguson) - Technology's replaced us all and here's a stab at what it lacks.
5) Kedar Tease - (K. Ferguson) - Hindustani Rag that comes the closest to harmonic series.
6) Ben's Journey (K. Ferguson) - A tune like this could prove or not the crux of one of Ben's theories.
7) Gotchya Cha Cha (K. Ferguson) - Gotchya or no gotchya, it's a Latin-ish playground.
8) Dante's Nightmare (K. Ferguson) - "And the wild beasts and the shepherds quickly flee at the sound."
9) Awaiting The Past (K. Ferguson) - Indulging in and soaking in nostalgic type desires.
10) Morrie's Pie (K. Ferguson) - Moments of rare moods of one who consiously expires.
11) A Fleeting Passion (K. Ferguson) - Passions rise and passions meet, passions dance, a passion fleets.
12) Dafino Vino Tsrveno (Beranche, Macedonian trad. var.) - Lift and step and lift your feet. Seven and five, together, twelve beats.
13) Introduction And Rondo Capriccioso (Camille Saint-Saens) - He wrote and dedicated this in 1863.
14) Heated Discussions (K. Ferguson) - Voices dance and dart about, and join or fight or flee.
15) Mayday Macedonia (K. Ferguson) - Ima loshi neshta tamu. Shto kje mozhish da pravish?
16) Vivaldi Style (Adapted from Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in D) - Of the hundreds of his movements, it's "Vivaldi style-ish."
17) Ubava Pizza Rachenizza (K. Ferguson) - "It's A Beautiful Pizza" is quite the place to dance about.
18) A Night In Portland (K. Ferguson) - Sonic tale of what it's like to be in Portland and go out.
19) So Much For Justice (K. Ferguson) - and so much for poetry.
20) Never Been To New Orleans (K. Ferguson)

Ferguson's story behind each track:

1) Liberation (K. Ferguson) - Passion for what it should be, a twist of irony bespoke...
This one was written based on a tongue in cheek title that inspired it, "If Guitar Ruled The Universe." Without the long story behind it, most people would just assume it's being serious and therefore ridiculously arrogant. It lightened up a bit when it was adapted to focus on the theme of liberation, which is a word that has been abused enough lately to have lost much of it's former meaning. Nevertheless, the melody is a cross-modulated patterned weave of classical, neoclassical Latin American, Eastern European, rock and other styles, along with an alternatively supporting and contrasting bass and drums. The trio played this for over a year before recording it.

2) Fugued Rachenitsa (K. Ferguson) - Modern fusion of Baroque & Eastern European Folk
The krivo oro (crooked dance: crooked for the odd meter of the rhythm & oro being line dance that travels in a cirle) with 4 plus 3 = 7 quick beats in Macedonia is commonly known as "racenica," pronounced "rachenitsa." This is combined with fugue and canon structures, including the simple (round, as in "Row, Row, Row Your Boat"), crab (retrograde, where the same melody starts from the beginning with one voice and at the end going backwards with another) and retrograde inversion (another voice reads the music upside-down, so from the end and inverted), with somewhat hidden snippets of traditional melodies.

3) Chaconne - Chaconne by J. Sebastian Bach , performed on an electric axe.
This is one of Bach's most dramatic solo violin pieces from his sonotas and partitas. Unlike the full classical works of "Strad To Strat," this version has been abridged from it's original length of over 15 minutes, in part because it's the only way that it could fit on this fully loaded CD.

4) Technology Has Replaced Us All (K. Ferguson) - Technology's replaced us all and here's a stab at what it lacks.
The mechanics and "mechanical-ness" of Baroque counterpointal composition and of technology itself are used impressionistically and literally in this one.

5) Kedar Tease - (K. Ferguson) - Hindustani Rag that comes the closest to harmonic series.
After studying music from around the world for many years, some versions of Kedar rag from some regions of ancient India and perhaps some today, are based on a "that" (rougly meaning scale structure) that comes closest to the "Overtone Scale", the 7 note scale of the third octave of the natural harmonic series (Note that Raga Bhusavati and Mela Vacaspati also share this characteristic). Since Hindustani classical music is not based on the tempered, but instead pure harmonic intervals, this approximately lydian scale comes closest to harmonic series scale of any traditional or modern musical form I have come across. Performed on an electric guitar, with it's native tempered scale, may be approximated with bends not entirely unlike those found in Hindustani classical music. However, as Kedar is one rag that has been quite varied and adapted across geography and time, it seemed appropriate to further adapt it here, with teasing moments in and out of the harmonic series, the tradition and the modern.

6) Ben's Journey (K. Ferguson) - A tune like this could prove or not the crux of one of Ben's theories.
Ben asked me to write a song more along the lines of things he liked, having a theory regarding the consequences. This was an attempt at finding an intersection between what we might both like.

7) Gotchya Cha Cha (K. Ferguson) - Gotchya or no gotchya, it's a Latin-ish playground.
This was written after awaking from a dream one morning with the main bass line in my head. The rest was written and recorded that day.

8) Dante's Nightmare (K. Ferguson) - "And the wild beasts and the shepherds quickly flee at the sound."
From Canto IX of Dante's Inferno, the incredible blood curdling screaming and howling of Megaera, Alecto and Tisiphone, with all the mayhem of other creepy creatures gives this kind of impression.

9) Awaiting The Past (K. Ferguson) - Indulging in and soaking in nostalgic type desires.
Though the trio's played this one for years now, it was originally written during an unusually mellow mood moment in the studio one day. The original guitar track from that day was used for this recording. Noah Peterson came in and graciously added his signature sax solo some time later. Finally, Kevin Cosgrove and Chris Goldthorpe added the drums and bass respectively.

10) Morrie's Pie (K. Ferguson) - Moments of rare moods of one who consiously expires.
Though "Tuesdays With Morrie" is quite famous, I had not heard of Morrie until a Ted Koppel television piece chronicalling thier time together as Morrie slowly lost his life over months. Seeing this type of thing is not usual in our society, and puts on in a rare mood in my opinion. This was written immediately after.

11) A Fleeting Passion (K. Ferguson) - Passions rise and passions meet, passions dance, a passion fleets.
12) Dafino Vino Tsrveno (Beranche, Macedonian trad. var.) - Lift and step and lift your feet. Seven and five, together, twelve beats.
This is very non-traditional arrangement of a traditional Macedonian folk song with a Beranche dance rhythm: 3+2+2+3+2. Listen carefully, and you may also recognize some other more Western melodies thrown in.
13) Introduction And Rondo Capriccioso (Camille Saint-Saens) - He wrote and dedicated this in 1863.
This is another classical violin piece that has been adapted to the electric guitar.

14) Heated Discussions (K. Ferguson) - Voices dance and dart about, and join or fight or flee.
This was intentionally written as an impressionistic piece reflecting the rhtyhm, energy and passion of heated discussions within a group of people. While topics are shared, views may be similar or differ and voices and sometimes personalities are distinct.

15) Mayday Macedonia (K. Ferguson) - Ima loshi neshta tamu. Shto kje mozhish da pravish?
Of all of Europe, Macedonia seems to me to be the underdog most overlooked in the west (US & Western Europe), though the UN has forced terrorists (according to the list of terrorists from US State Department) to be in the national government at the cabinet level, violating Macedonia's constitution. While Serbia had certianly aggressive force against the Albanian militants and civilians in thier country, Macedonia has been so concilliatory as to allow armed and murderous take-overs of Tetovo, again with UN pressure. With import quotas of neighbors on all sides and exclusion from trade privaledges of the surrounding region, it is as if sanctions were being imposed on a country simply for being too small and poor to defend itself against this and other exploitations. This original tune using traditional style, and with the rhthmic cycle of a concatenation of Rachenitsa (7 beats), Diachovo (9 beats) and Gankino (11 beats), is an ode to the great and struggling country.

16) Vivaldi Style (Adapted from Vivaldi's Violin Concerto in D) - Of the hundreds of his movements, it's "Vivaldi style-ish."
Most of these passages seem as though Vivaldi had the electric guitar in mind when he wrote them. But no, these were written note for note for the violin.

17) Ubava Pizza Rachenizza (K. Ferguson) - "It's A Beautiful Pizza" is quite the place to dance about.
In Portland's east side, every Tuesday night there's music and dance, including at least one Racenica. This one was written after Balkanalia and first performed at "It's A Beautiful Pizza."

18) A Night In Portland (K. Ferguson) - Sonic tale of what it's like to be in Portland and go out.

19) So Much For Justice (K. Ferguson) - and so much for poetry.
This one is somewhat impressionistic played over a blend and alternate set of 12/8 polyrhythms: African (also reverse Balkan "Berenche"), 3/4 and 4/4. The harmonized mix of western and eastern scales gives a little extra tension and bite to this one.

20) Never Been To New Orleans (K. Ferguson)


About Kevin Ferguson:

Whether subtle or extreme, Kevin Ferguson is a musical adventurer. He is currently performing music culminated from decades of musical exploration including music normally not heard on acoustic or electric guitars, (from the classical violin virtuoso to jazz sax to Balkan Gypsie to Bluegrass Banjo to Indian Rags to Native American "Ghost Dance Songs") along with the spectrum of music more native to his instrument. Although he has played many styles on many instruments on both coasts, but currently calls Portland, OR his home and guitar his main instrument. His performances have been heard in 5 continents due to airplay and purchases of his CD's since his debut, "Strad to Strat" which includes virtuoso classical violin showpieces transcribed for electric guitar. After local performances of this music for nearly 2 years (during which the CD stayed on Locals Only's top 24 selling list), Kevin began performing music which is on his latest CD, "Exotic Extremes": music from 5 continents transcribed for steel string acoustic and electric guitars along with his ensemble, "Teshkoto."

"I made a goal of learning at least one tune I liked from every country in the world," he explains, "and though I may never reach this goal, it has brought me to some great music so far." He performs music from Asia (including Nothern Indian Classical Rags, Afghanistan, Pakistani, Chinese, Japanese and others), Africa, The Middle East, Europe (including Balkan and Baltic regions) and the Americas (including a Native American spirit dance song performed prior to the Wounded Knee slaughter). The CD concentrates primarily on the former Ottoman Empire: Macedonia, Bulgaria, Rumania/Serbia and the Middle East.

Learning about other cultures has been quite rewarding for him as well. In studying Northern Indian Classical, he has taken lessons from Portland's Indian transplant Nisha Goshi, a student of a student of Ravi Shankar, for example. In addition, he performed percussion for Indian music with Shri Ravi Shankar (no relation) at Portland's "Old Church." Many of the areas ethnic communities have been quite open to sharing their music.

Kevin Ferguson studied Music Theory and Composition with Carmen Rodrigez-Peralta of New York's Julliard School of Music. While in NY, he wrote and performed original jazz/rock tunes with "Trazee" and punk rock with "The Quaaludes." While on the east coast he played in theater orchestras, jazz, pop rock and even country bands.

He has recently been creating new original tunes, as well as developing his own new improvisational style (and music theory extending western and Hindustani classical theories) with all the above along with other influences such as salsa, swing, metal, maqam...the list goes on and on.

Kevin's musical projects have earned the following praise:

"It's bloody amazing what I hear..."
-- Richard Karsmarkers, ST NEWS & Bacil Magazine, Netherlands

"F(Censored)ING BRILLIANT!!!!!!! It's magic stuff. I love it..."
-- Douglas Johnston, "The Flying Scotsman," URY Radio, York, U.K.

"The CD is amazing!"
-- The Campbell Brothers, Internet's HARDRADIO

"...the playing is impressive. Very impressive."
-- Mike Taylor, Gibralter Magazine

"Roll Over, Niccolo. Actually, maestro Paganini probably would have
approved..."
-- Oregonian, A&E, Best Bets For The Week, Dec. 15-21, 1995

"It's an intriguing sound..."
-- David MacLaine, Willamette Week.

"...fantastic (translated)..."
-- Esquire Magazine, The Netherlands

"Again great album! ...guitar skills are excellent and I would even call
it 'elegant'."
-- Janell Duxbury, author, "Rockin' the Classics and Classicizin' The
Rock," Greenwood Press

"I loved it. I was amazed at (Ferguson's) technique"
-- Tim Rice, Ethnomusicology Dept. Chair UCLA & author of "May It Fill
Your Soul."

"...he has succeeded impressively."
-- Peter T. Thelen, Expose'

"...some of the most brilliant works in classical music with searing,
blistering electric guitar."
-- Cai Campbell, Cosmik Debris E-Zine

"Quite amazing and unique work."
-- Ford Prefect, The Beginning 87.9FM, Radio Free Seattle

"...great, very interesting I must say, very talented as well."
-- Aaron Nakama, Station Manager CKUL 99.7 FM, Canada

"Many people says that CD is fine."
-- Zbigniew Zych, Radio Akademickie Krakow, Poland

"His playing is like nothing you can imagine. Amazing speed and technical
abilities blended well with beautiful melodies."
-- Evan Hadley, Evan Hadley Band


Reviews


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Mikolaj Furmankiewicz

Kevin Ferguson - Subtle Hint
If you are forced to wait for your preferent artist's music for a few years, but finally you get a great music in return for your patience, you can feel satisified, and a musician feels an artistic fulfilment. It is exactly so with "Subtle Hint".

Kevin's six-year composing and concert activity didn't go to waste. As usual, Kevin plays acoustic and electric guitars, but, this time, he also presents himself as a multiinstrumentalist being able to play as well such instruments like hand percussion, violin, cello and synths. Mr. Ferguson invited his old buddy - Chris Goldthorpe (bass), and some new musicians - Kevin Cosgrove (drums), Tzara (tablas) and Noah Peterson (sax). The line-up differs this CD from the previous ones. Next different factor is connected with the compositions. Namely, 16 out of 20 tracks are American's original ones. We can quickly peek at the tracklist and we have just got to know that music on "Subtle Hint" is very diversified. The opening "Liberation" is an example of melodic instrumental hard rock up to the top scratch, directly referring to the eighties. The following one - "Fugued Rachenitsa" was called "modern fusion" by Mr. Ferguson himself, and I guess that a task of epithet "modern" is differentiating fusion style connected with jazz music from American's offer, that is a mixture of baroque tones and Macedonian folk music. We stay in baroque in "Chaconne" by Johann Sebastian Bach. Chaconne is a Spanish dance from the 13th century, but it was evolved (in the 14th century) into instrumental variation form based on so-called basso continuo, that is an executive technique consisting in recurring (in a progress of the composition) one piece of the lowest - bass voice. Including "Chaconne" in the tracklist doesn't surprise me, the more so because a mentioned piece can be come across in jazz and folk music that are deeply being explored by Mr. Ferguson indeed. Common subject in a contemporary music is technological development, so American hasn't avoided it in his work. "Technology Has Replaced Us All" is a track entirely based on synths, but it shows a wide spectrum of musical abilities and Ferguson's ingenuity. "Kedar Tease" is the example of instrumental hard rock and Hindu raga, that is a melodic model in music where an instrumentalist creates a ground for improvisations on its foundation. Raga is closely related to Hindu symbolism and ethics as well. With "Ben's Journey" we can go on interesting journey with acoustic guitar in new age style of Govi. This track proves that musicians can bring something fresh to musical art, omitting to duplicate mindlessly patterns from the past, but they have to be open to unknown styles and giving a will to learn them. Its next confirmation is Latin American "Gotchya Cha Cha" in which the acoustic ground harmonizes very well with the electric one. If you are fans of Dante Alighieri's "Divine Comedy", Mr. Ferguson invites you to a pretty pleasant "Inferno" in a composition titled "Dante's Nightmare". "Awaiting The Past" is the example of smooth jazz, that is elevator music whose task was increasing the productivity of workers in American plants. In other words, it was meant for motivating them as a driving force. There is further "Dafino Vino Tsrveno" that confirms Ferguson's passion for Macedonian folk music. In the year 1863 a French composer, Camille Saint-Saëns composed one of his most famous works titled "Introduction et rondo capriccioso" for violin and orchestra. Mr. Ferguson has made it a neoclassical diamond performed in idyllic mood. The one, equally brilliant, is "Heated Discussions" (based on counterpoint) in which Kevin presents us his "voices dance". "Mayday Macedonia" is a cogent evidence of possibility to gather many influences in one track - the Balkan, classical, jazz and metal music. One of my favourite one is "Vivaldi Style" that is a reference to one of Italian's violin concerto and a kind of Antonio Vivaldi's style summary. Ferguson successfully managed to include all of most important elements from Vivaldi's manner. "Ubava Pizza Rachenizza" is a successful trial of a combination of Macedonian dance and baroque canon that is contrapuntal piece in which a melody in one part is simulated precisely in other ones. In one of the last tracks called "So Much For Justice", Ferguson puts together instrumental poetry with African drums sound. Obviously, I can't forget about tabla - a Hindu instrument made of wooden, clay and copper parts. A musician hits them with a hand's bunches or fingers. Using this instrument also showes that Ferguson's music has some features typical of world music and progressive style. When I think of "progressive" word in this case, I mean no traditional progressive rock, but a music progressive in its structure and avantgarde in a case.

With this item and the whole of his works, Kevin Ferguson has proved he is a man of original personality, and the one who composes unconventional music that is worth waiting for ages!