The music of Tobie Milford has been described as an “ethereal symphony of sound”, using loop pedals to layer multiple violin parts and combine them his own vocals. This culminates in a nuanced and unique sound: ambient, minimalist string textures, quartet-style harmonies, sophisticated plucking patterns, and dynamic vocal melodies. His songwriting has led him to become one of Phoenix’s most widely-lauded solo acts, and his diverse fan base has invited him to play everywhere from bars and music venues to museums, art galleries, and a broad array of festivals, including Cincinatti’s Midpoint Music Festival in 2010. His music has been played on PBS programming, US Airways flights, and internet radio stations, reaching listeners from South Africa to New Zealand. That Milford has opened for cello looper extraordinaire Zoe Keating, ambient folk/postrock pioneers Sleep Whale, and singer-songwriters Tony Lucca and Joe Firstman is an indicator of his appeal to a diverse body of musical supporters.
This year, Milford has been fortunate enough to compose and perform string arrangements for one of Beck’s “Song Reader” pieces with none other than Jimmy Eat World’s Jim Adkins as part of Psyko Steve’s Cover the Crescent series. In June, he performed with members of the Downtown Chamber Series at Phoenix’ prestigious Musical Instrument Museum, interspersing looped solo material with arrangements of his songs for string quartet.
His new material takes advantage of his budding musical relationships string players from the Downtown Chamber Series, Phoenix’s fantastic Tetra Quartet, and other local musicians supportive of his work.
Milford has contributed to the latest recordings of many Phoenix bands/songwriters including What Laura Says Thinks and Feels, Kinch, Peachcake, Ryan Taverna, the Constellation Branch, Andrew Jackson Jihad, Michelle Blades, Courtney Marie Andrews, Justin Olsen, Porches, Cardiac Party, and PAWL, as well as various compilations such as the Princess Lost project. He was also commissioned by Snake Snake Snakes! to compose and perform string accompaniments for their live show when they opened for Jimmy Eat World at Phoenix’s Marquee Theater in October 2010.
Musical influences include Radiohead, Max Richter, Arvo Part, John Adams, Rachels, Sigur Ros, Sufjan Stevens, and Andrew Bird.
Milford is also a member of Phoenix-based band the Whisperlights, who have been featured on NPR Song of the Day.