Available: October – December 2019
TOBY DRIVER is best known as the frontman and bandleader of the prolific experimental band, Kayo Dot (ex-maudlin of the Well). In the past two decades, he has masterfully explored the limitlessness of music, from weird metal to beautiful post-rock, from austere ballads to tripped-out 70s fusion and beyond. He has worked with a number of forward-thinking luminaries including Trey Spruance (Secret Chiefs 3), John Zorn, G. Stuart Dahlquist (Burning Witch, Asva), Jeremiah Cymerman, Mario Diaz de Leon, Gyan Riley, and many more, and his music appeared as part of Peter Hopkins Miller’s installation, Stained Glass, in the 2017 edition of the Venice Biennale. Throughout his many projects: maudlin of the Well, Vaura (with Kevin Hufnagel from Gorguts), Stern (with Chuck Stern from Time of Orchids), The Tanks (with Ches Smith and Brandon Seabrook), Clefter (with Gyan Riley and Timba Harris from Secret Chiefs 3), Tartar Lamb, free-improv trio Bloodmist (with Jeremiah Cymerman and Mario Diaz de Leon), his solo works, and most of all Kayo Dot, Driver’s adventurousness shines brightly. Whereas most musicians attach an identity to themselves in terms of scene or style, Driver’s music is the sound of the abandonment of identity, and the refusal to answer the question “Who are you?” Paradoxically, perhaps his defining characteristic as a composer and musician is this fearlessness of looking into the unknown.
As a solo performer, on guitar, keyboard, and voice, Driver has been exploring dark, austere neofolk akin to Grouper, Talk Talk, Current 93, and others, with a subtle progressive and unsettling edge.
A new album, They Are The Shield, is coming via Blood Music on September 21, 2018.
“They Are the Shield finds Toby Driver continuing to evolve as a solo artist, with masterful string arrangements and gorgeous atmospheres for one of the finest albums of the year.” – Sputnikmusic
“The album is a deeply meditative and thoughtful trip that will appeal to fans of progressive rock, avant-garde classical, and the kind of singer-songwriter records that view the form as high art.“ – Pop Matters
“If you’re wondering what a committed adventurer like him would do with the torch song, this show is a great way to find out.“ – The Chicago Reader
“A stately procession of fragile songs that barely agitate the swirling mists that surrounds it as it slow-marches and disappears into the shrouded distance.” – Roger Trenwith, The Progressive Aspect
“An intensely pleasing piece of music, a must have for fans of resplendent art pop and the mist-like compositions which have been known to visit [the works of] Kayo Dot now and again.” – Heavy Blog
“In all of his work, he has shown both originality and the capacity to challenge listeners and expand minds, this album being no exception.” – It Djents
“Mit They Are The Shield ist Toby Driver erneut ein wunderbares Solowerk gelungen, das eine faszinierende Melange aus Postrock und kammermusikalischen Klängen bietet.” – Babyblaue Seiten
“Gerade weil Driver all dies eben nicht alleine zu verantworten hat, seine Visionen virtuos auskleiden lässt und damit auch sich selbst als Dirigent neue Facetten abringt, wächst seine dritte Soloplatte zu einer weiteren Sternstunde in einer beispiellosen Diskografie.” – HeavyPop.at
“Mit ‘They Are The Shield’ gerät Toby Driver zur Entdeckung des Jahres.” – Streetclip.de
“Gespenstisch, mitreißend und – das war bisher immer so bei Driver – zeitlos.“ – skug.at
“Seine Melodien sind ebenso finessenreich wie unaufdringlich, sodass beispielsweise gar nicht auffällt, wie unglaublich lang “Parsifal” braucht, bis es in die Gänge kommt. Wenn dieser Moment jedoch erreicht ist, gibt es kein Halten mehr.” – Plattentests.de