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The Sole Inhabitant

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Album Review

Thomas Dolby issued this live recording, made at Martyrs in Chicago, Illinois in May of 2006, just as there was some stirrings of a revival of interest in his work; ironically, EMI would re-release his Golden Age of Wireless album in all of its permutations, augmented with his early-'80s concert Live Wireless as a DVD, just a couple of years later. But this 21st century presentation of Dolby's work is not to be ignored: vocally, the man has not only seemingly failed to age a day, but he has become more expressive with age, so that end of the performance is spot-on for anyone with fond memories of pieces such as "Flying North," "One of Our Submarines," "Europa and the Pirate Twins," and "She Blinded Me with Science," all represented here. There isn't a lot of live ambience, in terms of audience response or interaction, but the audio is excellent and the performance ultimately bracing and thoroughly satisfying; the tempos are sometimes pulled back a bit, but the instrumentation is more complex and involved, and rewarding. And "The Flat Earth" is so finely sung and played as to be one of the finest things that Dolby has ever done, at any time in his career, and worth the price of the disc by itself. Indeed, if you're splitting philosophical and aesthetic hairs, this release could easily qualify as a live "best of" for the man's work, while the EMI versions just as easily come off as works-in-progress. The Sole Inhabitant has been released as a CD, and as a CD/DVD combination, and the latter constitutes a very different animal from this single-disc version.


Born: 14 October 1958 in Cairo, Egypt

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Though he never had many hits, Thomas Dolby became one of the most recognizable figures of the synth pop movement of early-'80s new wave. This was largely due to his skillful marketing. Dolby promoted himself as a kind of mad scientist, an egghead who had successfully harnessed the power of synthesizers and samplers and used them to make catchy pop and light electro-funk. Before he launched a solo career, Dolby had worked as a studio musician, technician, and songwriter; his most notable work as...
Full bio
The Sole Inhabitant, Thomas Dolby
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  • 8,99 €
  • Genres: Electronic, Music
  • Released: 21 November 2006

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