Cary Grace — Tygerland
(Door 13 D130016, 2015, CD/DL)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2015-10-20
My first encounter with Cary Grace was her cover of Pink Floyd’s “Cirrus Minor” on FdM’s 2014 compilation A Momentary Lapse of Vinyl. Then earlier this year FdM issued a member’s only compilation Strange Fruit and Veg that featured Mauve La Biche and Cary’s excellent cover of Amon Düül’s “Archangel’s Thunderbird.” But that is all that I knew about her. Interestingly, it turns out Cary was born in South Carolina, lived for many years in Nashville, and eventually moved to the UK in 2005. She now runs Wessex Analogue, the company that acquired the Wiard modular synthesizer from F/i’s Grant Richter. In her free time she creates music, Tygerland being her first full-length album since 2011. Cary and friends Steffe Sharpstrings (various incarnations of Gong) and John Garden (Scissor Sisters and Alison Moyet) recorded five of the eight tracks live in the studio last August. The improvisational title track opens the disc with noise that slowly resolves into eerie ambience and reversed tapes, which is no indication at all of the listening experience awaiting you on the rest of the disc. “Cyanide,” the second “live” song follows with its gothic-psych-prog theme. The guitar work is outstanding throughout the song, especially the searing solo during the break. The slow and ethereal “Orange Sky,” not to be confused with Love’s song, follows and features Cary’s vintage Minimoog synth and vocals. The minimal arrangement and analog electronics are superb. Next is “War Child,” not a cover of Jethro Tull’s classic tune, but a proggy blues rock song with Cary sounding very strong and confident, much like Bonnie Raitt. Then she calms things down with the quiet jazz-pop “Limelite” with her vocals being a cross between Crystal Jacqueline and Renate Knaup. Now folks you are in for a treat with “Razorwire.” This bass-driven psych song is very catchy with a New Wave vibe thrown in for good measure. Think of a lysergic Ultravox with Julee Cruise on vocals. “Into the Indigo” is another strong song, this time with melodic guitar lines and violin. The disc closes with the 20 minute improv “Windsong.” The song slowly evolves from a quiet “fog horn” intro, abstract electronics, and a pulsating rhythm to an energetic glissando guitar opus with Steffe channeling Daevid Allen. Interspersed is Cary’s haunting spoken word narration. Cary really delivers the goods on Tygerland in this handmade limited edition gatefold sleeve.
Related artist(s): Cary Grace
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