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Cary Grace - Perpetual Motion CD (album) cover


Cary Grace

Psychedelic/Space Rock

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Honorary Collaborator / Band Submissions
4 stars Cary Grace is releasing albums since 2004, experienced in composing and guitar playing. Her new production now appears as a double CD album - a really refreshing discovery as for my impression. When starting to listen to the opening song The Scarab first you may think of such a singer/songwriter girl we have plenty of. It's a really mellow acoustic ballad - 'from horizon to horizon ...' - a nice refrain - whoops - but then you will soon take notice of synths and psychedelic guitar coming up which sounds quite off the beaten path. This is interesting and makes curious.

The songs are instrumental half way through although Cary has a charming voice. This might convey that she doesn't make the most with her talents. But obviously there are other preferences too - the cornucopia of VCS3 synthesizer elements and the compositions as such which are not fitted to herself exclusively - it's the whole ensemble which impresses on 'Perpetual Motion'. Finally the result is variety based on a collective work and covering diverse progressive rock styles.

For example we later hit upon the spacey chilling Cassiopeia, 1572 provided with a looping behaviour and wonderfully swirling and bubbling goodies all around. And the long track Queen of Pentacles definetely can be redefined as 'Queen of Perpetual Motion' if it was up to me - wow - a mainly improvised monster track contrasted by some vocal passages. What an energetic performance developing from floydy psychedelic to jazz rock(!) over the course of time. Synthesizer, electric guitar and violin are harmonizing as well as duelling - this is amazing!

Second disc starts with one of several short interludes you will find named Between the Pages - seemingly representing something like a backbone for the whole production. The folk tinged Dreamcatcher brings another new facet as well as Helleborus - more blues coloured for the start and evolving to another nonchalant jam with Graham Clark's violin support. Very impressing up to this point - and the title track is still missing ...

... 'it must be a perpetual motion' - they let it flow and take time for more than twenty minutes! An exciting laid-back spacey one basically, repetitive bass, hypnotizing synthesizer and hallucinogenic guitar appearance. There's so much tension here - hard to describe. Someday I decided to put on my headphones to listen once more - and realized that I was definetely too hasty to assign the crown. Not a song which unfolds its beauty at the first glance - but then ...

'Perpetual Motion' is delivering structure and improvisation quasi emancipated, a well-balanced progressive rock production consisting of a bunch of impressions. A great step forward compared to what I know from her previous albums. This foreshadows some other surprises just trying to be a little bit visionary. Highly recommended by all means - don't miss that - 4.5 stars really!

Report this review (#228783)
Posted Tuesday, July 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The most recent double album of CARY GRACE wanders in the realms of pleasant vintage psychedelic rock music. The album is built from three types of songs; Longer jam-oriented songs varying length from eleven to twenty four minutes, shorter compositions emphasizing melody and songwriting approach, and the some shorter middle sections, resembling little "Promenades" of Moussorgy's "Pictures at an Exhibition" for these tracks.

Beautiful "Scarab" opens the album with pretty acoustic minor-key melodies and vocals, giving fine first impression for anybody open to acid folk, pleasant lady singer's voice and an analogue synthesizer sounds. First "Between Pages" shifts in as calm and melancholic progression lead by keyboards. The next song is then a first longer track here, "Cassiopeia 1572" running over thirteen minutes. Oriental resembling chords starts the song, and it's feeling is more playful and peculiar. Tender instruments are weaved around a bass guitar playing nice high pitch patterns. Like the name suggests, the synthesizers deliver spacey cosmic tones to the pleasant, free and relaxed cosmic jamming built from two modal themes between a more stagnant galactic aural space. Second mellow "Between Pages" introduces the longest track of the album, "Queen of Pentacles" running over twenty four minutes. The song forms a kind of circle, borne from quiet pulsing, distant sounds and growing bass guitar presence, then chord change leading to a theme for singing and marching rhythm which switches with a harder guitar riff. Later the song ends to same theme and ambience from where it started, and between lies a fine, long, hypnotic jam lead by both synthesizers and guitar solos. This spontaneous song really flows pleasantly and logically, pleasantly feeling much shorter than the time it really lasts.

Second disc starts with the third "Between Pages", which delivers more playful feeling after the long trip, and leads to "Dream Catcher", an euphoric and beautiful song with some slightly oriental chords. Fourth "Between Pages" is a bluesy shorite, referring the melody of the first song in a nice way. It prepares well for the following "Helleborus", written and performed in the way of bluesy 60's American psychedelic sound (Jefferson Airplane is an association here for me). In the jam section a violin mingles neatly with the guitar, creating a relaxed hazy summer feeling in line with the mellow melancholy of the other tracks of the album. Vocal sections visit and fade away from the theme variations, and the song ends to an electronic ambience leading to the final title track, "Perpetual Motion". This song excluding 20 minutes of length starts pleasantly, fading in directly to an active improvisation process, pleasantly wandering keyboards presenting the theme for group's support. A bluesy melody theme circles lingering around one note, tension gaining height calmly. The bass progression varies the note progressions for calmly voyaging synthesizers and guitars in a dreamy echo-treated realms, flowing towards a quiet cosmic direction, where the song and album at the end fades.

So, the dominant overall impression for me here was a calm, pleasant, mellow and pretty psychedelic musical trip. Often this kind of music is also aggressive, neurotic and chaotic, but here we get quite accessible, but still vintage, personal and pleasant experience without psychosis. Thus I find the album and artist recommendable to the vintage psych prog portfolio for the fans of the music genre concerned. If describing with comparisons, some kind of idea of the music style could be blending cosmic synth sounds of 70's Hawkwind to the tender "Meddle"-era Pink Floyd tones with touch of psych folk, strong synthesizer presence and female voice in front.

Report this review (#242060)
Posted Tuesday, September 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
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.

Report this review (#2382572)
Posted Saturday, May 16, 2020 | Review Permalink

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