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Cary Grace - Perpetual Motion CD (album) cover


Cary Grace


Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.03 | 17 ratings

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kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars Although I have known Cary for a few years, for some reason I had never investigated any of her music until towards the end of last year when I was approached by a third party asking if wanted to hear her latest album. This in turn led to me and Cary getting back in touch with each other, and one weekend we spent a long time conversing through Messenger while I was writing reviews and she was making jewellery, as she had set up another company as she didn't have enough to do! Not only is Cary also a musician, poet and artist, she owns the brand for Wiard Synthesisers in the UK and builds them herself , so I am quite convinced she has a TARDIS stashed away somewhere as it is just not possible for one person to do everything she manages to achieve. Soon after that she sent me through some albums, and finally I have got around to giving them the time and attention they deserve.

On this 2009 double disc release she provides vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, EMS VCS3 synth, production and mixing and is joined by John Garden (guitar, Prophet 5 synth, Scissor Sisters), Graham Clark (violin, Daevid Allen), Andy Budge (bass) and David Payne (drums). However, the first song of hers I heard was a cover of Hendrix's "1983...(A Merman I Should Turn To Be)", which appeared on the Fruits de Mer 'A Band For All Seasons' compilation, and not anything from her albums at all. But this gave me an insight into the style of music this American turned Anglophile likes to produce, right? Wrong. Cary is one of the most interesting musicians I have come across, as the woman is a magpie, taking bright shiny things from one musical genre, hoarding them, and then looking for the next. This may just be a fragment, a sliver of something incredibly beautiful, or a much longer piece which takes time for the listener to understand.

Apparently, the album was recorded in just three days, and while there is an underlying psychedelic feel to it, there is also plenty of krautrock and the likes of Gong, with small vocal songs or sections giving way to long instrumental passages which have been mostly improvised. It is challenging in the aspect that one never knows what is going to come next, yet somehow as a whole it always makes sense. "Queen of Pentacles" is nearly 25 minutes long, and there are times when its whole being revolve around the vocals, and at others there is a rhythm section keeping it down while Cary provides looping synth leads and melodies which wouldn't sound too out of place on an Ozrics album. I must confess to playing all of her albums more than I would normally for review purposes just because a) I had no real idea how I could put what I was hearing into words, and b) I was enjoying them so damn much! The guitar may be front of house, creating a cacophony of sound while the keyboards are nowhere to be found, there are times when they are together, there are times when the music is looping to create a base on which to build ideas, and others where we get her vocals.

A normal musician would concentrate on just one musical style, but here we have someone who is refusing to confirm to any sort of normality, and instead wants us to accept her on her own terms. She is more than capable of releasing an album of short melodic songs based on her vocals, or albums of pure improvisation, but here she has put them all together on one 80 plus minute long set, which is simply superb, and the addition of Clark to add bits and pieces when the time is right is a masterstroke. This was Cary's fourth album, and demonstrates someone who knows her path, which is far more interesting and splintered than the well-trodden norm.

kev rowland | 4/5 |


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