Toby Driver

Toby Driver

Everything Toby Driver touches turns to artistic gold. The figure behind such accomplished outfits as Maudlin of the WellKayo Dot, and Tartar Lamb has made a career out of following his ever-wandering muse. Rather than dabbling in the trappings of different styles, Toby Driver truly comes to inhabit each. He applies a multi-layered sound, minimalistic melodies, and a great appreciation for textures to make complete works of true sonic art.

In the past two decades, he has masterfully explored the limitlessness of music, and with his long list of other collaborative and solo projects, he’s consistently digging into new sounds and textures, from austere ballads to tripped-out 70s fusion and beyond...sometimes engineering unlikely combinations of influences—avant-garde metal, jazz, beautiful postrock—even within a single track.

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, Driver’s adventurousness shines brightly. Whereas most musicians attach an identity to themselves in terms of scene or style, his music is the sound of the abandonment of identity, and the refusal to answer the question “Who are you?” Paradoxically, perhaps Driver’s 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, shown in his recent releases, Madonnawhore (The Flenser, 2017) andThey Are the Shield (Blood Music, 2018).