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Email Toby Driver
td [at] kayodot [dot] net

Toby Driver They Are the Shield [September 21, 2018]
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The artist behind such infamous, progressive, cult, chamber-oriented projects as maudlin of the Well and Kayo Dot injected new life into his long-dormant solo project early last year with his first album in a decade.

Driver returns with They Are the Shield, the prolific composer's first album in over twelve years that harks back to songwriting structures developed and perfected in his maudlin of the Well days.

Notes of singer-songwriter sensibilities simmer beneath a fog of synthesizers, expansive soundscapes, lush chamber orchestrations, and sullen atmospheres, punctuated and driven with a soft percussive heartbeat.

Imagine Bob Dylan deconstructed. Imagine motW without the metal or Kayo Dot without the chaos.

Toby Driver returns with one of the strongest entries in his abundant and celebrated career, signifying a complete evolution into artistic maturity. They Are the Shield delivers experimental chamber songs for the darkest of autumn days, recounting the rare and ethereal essence of such eminent luminaries as Ulver, Kauan, and Olafur Arnalds.

    Track list:
  1. Anamnesis Park
  2. Glyph
  3. 470 Nanometers
  4. Scaffold of Digital Snow
  5. Smoke-Scented Mycelium
  6. The Knot

Listen to "Glyph," see a new photo, and read the write-up courtesy of Heavy Blog.

Everything is fluid, the only constant is change, you can't step in the same river twice. Many people hold these truths to be self-evident, and as these ideas become even more more commonplace, it only makes sense that musicians should defy the demand to answer the question "Who are you?" The refusal to answer is, in a way, the best answer possible. Toby Driver's music is what that refusal sounds like.

Having grown up in the Northeast US, surrounded by a confusing combination of progressive social values and religious upbringing, haunted history's abandoned places and nowhere to stop the car even just to take a look, Driver developed an adventurous mind fascinated with exploration, rule breaking, and the unknown. Music was present since birth, through his parents' LP collection, and became a study at age eight following in his older brother's footsteps, whose mere 11-month age difference led to literally everything being shared. It was perhaps here that Driver's urge to discover his own self was stoked.

He studied composition at the experimental school, Hampshire College, with the jazz legend Yusef Lateef, whose unorthodox and innovative artistic practices encouraged Driver's search to become even more vigorous, and he developed a style characterized by imposing architecture and a distinct approach to time, focusing on ensemble performances of grand conducted phrases and impressionistic pulse, strongly influenced by Lateef's sense of harmony–ideas which he later compressed into virtuosic and complex rhythmic counterpoint. Whereas most musicians identify themselves by their chosen genre, Driver's rejection of idioms has resulted in a vast, unpredictable discography full of risks and liberties that invokes influences from every age and place while never settling on one palette of colors, and a career that has brought his music to a considerable breadth of venues, from thousands-capacity metal festivals to classical concert halls, and from basement concerts to the 57th Biennale di Venezia. It is in retrospect then, where the fullest picture of Driver's mission comes into focus: the navigation of his own identity and purpose, the discovery of which aspects are fluid and which are inescapable, and the sustained repetitive insistence of a person's voice and personality passing through environments and time.

Listen to the last album, Madonnawhore (2017, The Flenser)<

Some nice quotes about Madonnawhore:

"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

" It plays out like a beautiful, hazy dream, and acts as a strange gaze into a more personal exploration by a musician who thrives on providing the unexpected." - Sputnik Music

"Wahrscheinlich hat er darum herum das bisher anmutigste und friedlichste Album seiner ausufernden Karriere geschrieben; vielleicht sogar jenes, dass den rastlosen Getiebenen trotz der unstillbaren Sehnsucht des astral verzaubernden Madonnawhore erstmals mit sich selbst im Reinen erscheinen lasst." -

A selection of works from Driver's discography, stretching across several projects, that show his broad and unique compositional voice.