Tin Angel Records Presents |
Ryan Driver “wouldn’t care to know” how to classify his music. After all, to attempt to bottle a sound as instinctive as his would be to do it a disservice. Inspired by the more adventurous figures of jazz and other musical genres, Driver turns off the guiding light of traditional form and convention and instead reaches in the dark for something more profound, his every note, melody and lyric a question thrown out into the universe. He may never quite find the answers, but it’s in the act of searching that he carves out his musical identity.
Having studied piano, trombone and flute during his childhood, it seemed a natural next step for Driver, when he moved to Toronto 20 years ago, to begin inventing his own instruments. He made thumb reeds from balloons, a bass from a street-sweeper brush bristle, and performed improvised music to cut his teeth. He toured Canada twice playing jazz on just the two instruments he’d invented, alongside Justin Haynes on ukulele, and Jean Martin playing a small suitcase as a drum. All their musical gear fitted inside that suitcase. But more importantly, beyond the suitcase, he’s come to sing, write songs, and collaborate with more artists, and formed a quartet with whom he still plays 17 years on (though it’s since expanded into a sextet). “The music scene in Toronto is quite wonderful,” he says. “There’s a real collaborative spirit, and a feeling that anything is possible.” Some of the artists Driver’s worked with over the years have lent their talent to his new solo album, Careless Thoughts – but it is resolutely his own vision.