Album Review: Andy Cato / ‘Times & Places’ (Apollo)



Owner of a well-worn passport, Andy Cato sidesteps going around the world in 80 raves and creates instrumental reflections out of check-ins, layovers and time to kill. Hotel lobbies, lock-ins, road trips and terminals are his canvas, as the co-captain of the good ship Groove Armada re-masters lost cassettes, audio doodles and sonic postcards, in some cases rebuilding them from scratch to preserve their memory.

Production both plush and tremulous could just well have seen Cato holed up in an orchestrally-extended studio (“The Coastal Path”) for years on end rather than revisiting a traveller’s scrapbook. Lots of wise electronica, trip-hop kickbacks, free and open chillout and back to mine strums bump in time to the wheels of the pick-up truck Cato thumbs a lift from. A sense of the open road/world does not make for a cultural compare and contrast. It’s more a means of de-ringing ears and finding a happy place when the life of the jetsetter sometimes yearns for home.

Here lies the album expressive lean; everything’s fairly buoyant and in the moment, save for a couple of sterner border checkpoints, dismissing the dullness of any waiting room by looking for its next session under the stars (“Back from Castlemorton,” “Rear Window”) or hitting a secret spot only his inner circle knows of. Very media-savvy as well (“Abbey Road Jam,” “North from Montparnasse” as a boy of summer), it’s a fine companion for your own travels or when returning to terra firma.

File under: Andrew Bayer, Anthiliawaters, Windsurf