Times and Places
Reviewed by Jane Roser
Andy Cato, a founding member of the UK-based electronic dance band duo, Groove Armada, has released a solo conceptual album through Apollo/R+S Records documenting his twelve years on the road touring. This album was inspired by different hotels, trains, flights, road vehicles and probably some interesting, eccentric characters he met along the way.
There are 18 tracks on this album, which is quite a lot, and his website brilliantly describes the stories behind the history of each of these tracks, which makes for fascinating armchair travel reading. “Rear Window” was inspired by a small apartment Groove Armada stayed at in Buenos Aires which reminded Andy Cato of the Hitchcock film, the fact that you could look out and watch so many residents go about their day to day lives with no regards to those around them. The track is laden with heavy synthesizers and a man stuttering layered in. The strangest track is “Lake of Stars” which came about when Andy Cato booked a flight to Malawi for a show. He flew to Nairobi to hop a flight to Malawi, but the pilot took off thirty minutes early so he could get back in time for his brother’s birthday. He got stuck at Johannesburg airport because he didn’t have a yellow fever certificate and when he finally, after three days of attempting to get there, reaches Malawi, he encounters a street vendor selling tee shirts that say “Where the F*** is Andy Cato.” “Florence To Rome” starts off with a repetitive sound of strings before the percussion comes into play at the minute and a half mark. There is also a very creepy sound of someone breathing heavily over the track and what sounds like a race car spinning along in the background.
I had trouble appreciating this album because I cannot for the life of me understand the attractiveness of electronica music, but I can appreciate the effort, blood, sweat and tears that goes into creating something in which the artist is so passionate about and which documents such a personal journey.