Boomkat Product Review:
Cara Stacey's debut album is a charmingly curious exploration of South African musical bows in multiple, improvised and contemporary contexts. Quite safe to say that you've never heard the umrhube, makhoyane, or uhadi quite like this before (if you've ever heard them at all, that is).
Accompanied for the journey by Shabaka Hutchings (clarinet, tenor saxophone), Seb Rochford (drums), Ruth Goller (bass), Crewdson (concertronica), and Dan Leavers (synths/production), Cara's 'Things That Grow' is her first release following extensive Musicology studies between her South African home and farther afield in Edinburgh and London.
She's also an accomplished multi-instrumentalist and founding member of the Inclement Quartet and Pergola, which may explain her ostensibly effortless ease in coaxing such a free yet coherent performance from her band inside.
The music manifests a fluid, chattering dialogue and improvised instinct which blurs the line between either - alien tronix warp and weave with resonant, recursive acoustics; elastic dub bass and clarinet jazz each other off in the echo chamber; skin scrapes hair on metal to sound like asthmatic didgeridoos; boots stomp out acoustic techno tattoos in her overgrown field.
It's spellbinding and beguiling music; the sort of stuff that could only come from someone with a broad knowledge of what's out there, and who knows how to add to it without imitation.