Kayo Dot

(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )

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Boston's Maudlin Of The Well fronted by vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist Toby Driver My Fruit PsychoBells A Seed Combustible (Dark Symphonies, 1999) featured a trumpet, and both growling and clean vocals. They became an eight-piece ensemble for two complementary albums that mixed highbrow chamber music (trumpet, violin, French horn, pipe organ, saxophone) with bursts of death-metal: the dense, dark and expressionistic Leaving Your Body Map (2001) and the humble, ethereal and spiritual Bath (2001).

Abandoning the "metal" part of the equation, Toby Driver renamed his project as Kayo Dot, a seven-piece ensemble (three guitars, violin, trumpet, drums and bass) that debuted with Choirs of the Eye (Tzadik, 2003), perhaps the most accomplished fusion yet of death-metal, post-rock, jazz and classical music by any band, notably the 15-minute The Manifold Curiosity (Sam Gutterman on drums, Mia Matsumiya on violin and viola).

Kayo Dot's Dowsing Anemone with Copper Tongue (Robotic Empire, 2006), featuring new drummer Tom Malone, was more obscure and abstract than its predecessor, with a stronger emphasis on vocal theatrics (the nightmare Gemini Becoming the Tripod). The 18-minute On Limpid Form represents a new formal zenith.

Blue Lambency Downward (Hydra Head, 2008) was an inferior work that sounded like leftovers from previous albums.

Toby Driver capitalized on his experience with large-scale arrangements with those bands for his first solo album, In the L..L..Library Loft (Tzadik, 2006), that featured guitar, trumpet, trombone, piano, violin, cello, bass, drums.

Kayo Dot's offshoot Ehnahre indulged in the dissonant free jams with strings and horns of Taming The Cannibals (Crucial Blast, 2010).

Kayo Dot's Toby Driver also plays bass in Vaura with vocalist Josh Strawn (also in Religious to Damn and Blacklist), guitarist Kevin Hufnagel (Dysrhythmia and Gorguts) and drummer Charlie Schmid. Their albums Selenelion (Wierd, 2012) and The Missing (2013) spanned a vast range of styles.

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(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )
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