JWR Articles: CD - Quantum Physics (Featured performer: Paul Ferguson) - January 4, 2008
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Quantum Physics

3.5 3.5

Single-mindedness largely effective

The old adage, “If you want something done right, then do it yourself” takes on another measure of meaning in this multi-textured album from the mind and heart of Paul "Sequence" Ferguson. As composer, soloist, backup, arranger and mixer extraordinaire, there’s scarcely a moment (“Virginia” adds some effective if a tad breathy vocal lines in “Amazingly, Amazing I Do” and “Timing”; Lisa Menfi helped out in “FreeYour Mind,” along with an impressive solo from guitarist John Menfi; rapper Deron King made “The Observer” take on an air of “speaking in poems.”) that in one way or another doesn’t come from Ferguson. At its best—particularly the pair of tributes to Eddie Benitez and Marcus Miller—the music fires on all digital and acoustic cylinders using a funky, pounding pulse and single strands of guitar lines in the former and a truly solar planetary soundscape featuring muted trumpet and a drum solo that is simplicity itself in the latter. “String Theory” is aptly named, but perhaps not for the reason intended. While many instruments can be astonishingly close to “real” using the various techniques of sampling and sequencing available today, it is still impossible to recreate the “resiny” bite of horsehair bows into cat gut or steel, much less blend the slightly varying degrees of pitch and vibrato that live string sections have. Similarly, the piano solos (“Stars in Your Eyes” is a standout—you can feel the love in every note) will never replace a well-tuned Bösendorfer in full cry. Sadly, many listeners today may not have ever heard a truly “grand” piano “in the flesh.” Still, the frequent flute interventions, screamin’ guitar riffs and nicely varied percussion effects—with the notable exception of the overdone wind chimes whose sound has become a musical pejorative since Charlie’s Angels flooded the airwaves—produce an array of tracks that could never be described as a one-man bland. All the more reason to internalize the last three musical tracks (a PSA concludes the set). Ferguson’s deep love for his mother can be heard and felt immediately in “Quantum Physics Words of Wisdom,” “Mother I Miss You” and “Self Awareness.” But the words that flit in and out of these personal essays could be completely eliminated without losing an iota of meaning in those songs. JWR

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Featured performer - Paul Ferguson
Vocals - Lisa Menfi
Rapper - Deron King
Guitar - John Menfi
Repertoire:
Amazingly, Amazing I Do
Entanglement
M - Theory A Tribute to Eddie Benitez
Free Your Mind 2 Day
The Observer
Thank You Marcus Miller
Playing at the Planck Scale
Timing
String Theory
Create Your Own Day
Stars in Your Eyes
Quantum Physics Words of Wisdom
Mother I Miss You
Self Awareness
PSA
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