Thomas Dolby Returns w/New Album, EP

 

First studio album in 20 years comes on the heels of a
performing and archival resurgence.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

Reclusive solo artist Thomas
Dolby is preparing to break his 20-year silence with a brand new studio album, A Map of the Floating City, due out this
summer. That will be preceded, on March 28, by 3-song EP Oceanea, featuring guest vocals by Eddi Reader. “The new songs are
organic and very personal,” explains Dolby. “The songs on Oceanea are a
reflection of my natural home on the windswept English coastline.”

 

These days Dolby writes and
records aboard a solar and wind-powered 1930s lifeboat in the garden of his
beach house in East Anglia, England, following a 25-year stint in the U.S. According
to Dolby, the new album features a who’s-who roster of guests: Mark Knopfler,
Regina Spektor, Eddi Reader, Natalie MacMaster, Bruce Woolley and Imogen Heap.
Says Thomas, “This album does not sound electronic at all. I have zero desire to
add to the myriad of machine-based, synth-driven grooves out there. What I do
best is write songs, tell stories.”

 

Despite a hugely successful
career during the ‘80s, Dolby quit the music business in the early ’90s and
spent many years in Silicon Valley, where he
founded tech company Beatnik Inc. and co-invented the polyphonic ringtone
synthesizer embedded in more than two billion Nokia mobile phones. In 2001 he
became Musical Director of the TED Conference, an annual event in Long Beach, California
that attracts some of the world’s foremost thinkers, inventors, and speakers.
In this capacity he provides live musical introductions to sessions, sometimes
with an eclectic TED House Band, as well as helping secure guest musicians and
entertainers for the event. At last year’s conference, Dolby was joined onstage
by David Byrne for an inspiring performance of Talking Heads’ “(Nothing But)
Flowers.”

Following his involvement in Beatnik
Inc., Dolby returned to his musical career and the live arena in 2006. Dates in
the U.S., an appearance at
O2 in Hyde Park, and a triumphant night at London’s Scala reaffirmed this performer’s
importance on the big stage. A 2007 appearance at America’s SXSW festival was
followed by a string of further U.K. shows and in 2009 EMI released The
Singular Thomas Dolby, which brought together all of Thomas’s great singles on
one ace compilation. In 2010 Dolby released Amerikana,
a download-only EP exclusive to his online community, The Flat Earth Society.

 

Dolby has created a further way
for fans to get early access to his new material in the shape of a social network-based game, The Floating City, to be launched this
spring via Facebook, Twitter, and The Flat Earth Society. By building a
post-apocalyptic, barter-based trading culture around the objects and places
named in Dolby’s songs, solving puzzles related to his lyrics, and discovering
clues embedded in unique remixes, players will be able to win a sneak peek of
other new songs from the album, as well tickets for a private one-off concert
this summer at which he will perform the new album in its entirety.

 

 

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