Guardrails is the debut solo album from Washington D.C. area session drummer and music instructor, Andrew Toy. To this point in his career, Andrew has been laboring in bands playing on cruise ships and touring with Celtic, roots and funk groups. Most recently, he’s been collaborating with Lisa Said, Eli Lev and the Pigeon Kings. Beginning in 2017, Toy started writing music using exclusively percussion instruments (drum set, hand percussion, ethnic percussion, found objects and custom made instruments) augmented by electronic effects and loops.
Guardrails is a collection of atmospheric excursions into imaginary dimensions. On the album opener, “In the Clearing,” Andrew creates the sound of a gamelan orchestra playing the concert hall on Deep Space Nine. Other tracks bring to mind post rock emsmbles like Tortoise and pioneering art rock bands like Can and Neu. I find Andrew’s music hypnotic. The music is perfect for these weird times. Toy not only makes use of tones and textures, but the way he mixes the sounds makes great use of space. Sounds float in from distinct locations, making more creative use of sonic separation than I’ve heard since records of the ’70s when stereo was a novelty. Under the right circumstances, Guardrails could be the ultimate psychedelic experience for the quarantine years.