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The Sole Inhabitant

Thomas Dolby

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Customer Reviews

An Innovator Returns

"The Sole Inhabitant" marks the return of Thomas Dolby, too long away from a music scene that could desperately use his talents. Stripped of the hype surrounding his "hits", Dolby was always in his best form with the scintillating arrangements and quiet lyrical thoughtfulness of the music that didn't make it into airplay rotation. This CD re-presents a portion of his catalog as a one-man show. By the necessity of the performances, all entirely live and solo, anything remotely considered fluff is stripped away. The result is a thoroughly refreshing review of a musical path not capable of being trod by many. Mr. Dolby is quite earnestly about re-connecting with his core audience, and the CD succeeds quite well in that regard. Of particular value are his podcasts. They make his intentention clear. The "Leipzig Is Calling" podcast presentation in particular, the music portion of which is a different take than the one appearing on the CD, is a masterwork performance. If you have any concerns that Dolby is just another 80's rock star looking to cash out, that will be quickly stripped away by the podcasts. He's a real human being trying to connect in a personal way with his fans. This is not the last we'll see or hear of Thomas Dolby. This CD is a review of where we've been with him. He wants all of us onboard for the journey ahead. Be there.

Thomas Dolby Returns to His Roots

Having been a fan of Thomas Dolby's studio work in the early eighties up to '92 and "Astronauts and Heretics", I (like a lot of people, I suspect) figured that when he disappeared from the music scene that he'd simply gotten tired of the "bizness" and moved on to other pursuits. I left it pretty much at that, but was very surprised to find in a totally dissociated Wikipedia article that he's recently finished a tour, and released a CD/DVD of the tour material. So I let my fingers do the marching over to, where I was floored by what I found... podcasts, an extremely informative blog, links to interviews and live performances... and felt refreshed, as if everything old is new again. "The Sole Inhabitant" contains no new material, but is a retelling of the work that made Dolby's career in a manner that both updates the songs with the use of new technology and liberates them from the confines of major-label over-production. The technology allows him to perform once again as essentially a one-man band, and he harkens back to his roots without trampling or suffocating them. The public persona of Thomas Dolby had always been the "mad scientist of the musical realm", and he does depend on the computers and electronics for his sound, but he doesn't simply press play and sing. He truly performs his pieces, playing keyboards but also building and layering loops and samples, creating a new version of the song each time out if he so desires. Indeed it's the warmth and depth of his orchestrations and lyrics that stand him apart from the common perception of electronic pop as cold, sterile and trivial. He's admitted that he's committed himself to new material, now that he's found a way of working that doesn't involve the major-label meat grinder and allows him to take the development at a more natural pace. That, in my opinion, is a very good thing, since I have great respect for Thomas Dolby and feel he's got quite a bit to say, even after a 12-year hiatus. We shall see what the future brings for Mr. Dolby, but for now the past and present seems bright indeed. AND... he's a dyed-in-the-wool Mac maven! Go figure...

A True Innovator

Now with a lot of concerts high on style and low on substance, here comes a live album from Thomas Dolby showing the best of both. I was at the show this was recorded at, and the album certainly does not disappoint. Mr. Dolby not only plays everthything himself, on a combination of new cutting edge and vintage gear, but some of the tracks he "builds up" and sequences as he goes along. The sound is fantastic, and truly shows one of the original innovators of electronic music does not disappoint. I can't wait to see the companion DVD from another stop on the tour with the fantastic visuals as well.


Born: October 14, 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

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