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A Map of the Floating City

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Editors’ Notes

Nearly 20 years since his last album, 1992’s Astronauts & Heretics, Thomas Dolby releases a concept album about a repressive society in the ‘40s “that might have existed had WWII turned out a lot differently,” according to Dolby. His pioneering work as a synth-pop artist in the ‘80s and as a much-heralded producer are to his advantage as he clearly understands how to assemble sound pieces that are gloriously avant-garde yet fascinating and accessible. “Spice Train” sounds like a computer program overloading. “Evil Twin Brother,” featuring Regina Spektor, is an arresting piece of spy-movie cabaret. “Nothing New Under the Sun” pulses with the same sense of purpose that Dolby once gave the work of Prefab Sprout. “A Jealous Thing Called Love” is a space-age reggae. “17 Hills,” with Mark Knopfler and fiddler Natalie MacMaster, is soothingly conventional singer/songwriter fare. “The Toad Lickers,” with Imogen Heap, samples bluegrass. “Love Is a Loaded Pistol” heads to the back of the piano bar. “To the Lifeboats” features a classic sound that works from a whisper to a scream.

Customer Reviews

Worth the 20 year wait

Being a fan since Wireless, I own everything Thomas has ever released. I enjoyed playing the online game AMOTFC, associated this album as Keith Cathedral (for my PRD friends).

Thomas has maintained his musical integrity, intensified his story telling, and released some treasures in this new collection. "Oceanea" has captivated me since I heard it and won't let go, much like "Screen Kiss" did. "Simone" and "Lifeboats" are classic Dolby. "Road to Reno" is my older son's favorite.

Thanks for going back to your roots, Thomas. The pictures from Lake Michigan after the Martyrs concert were great. Wish I could have been there.

Uneven but worth it

The best way to describe it is "interesting". He walks through many styles. To me, the old time swing doesn't work well. But the ballads and bluegrass numbers are really special especially 17 Hills and the Toad Lickers. I've been a fan since the start and he's definitely one of my favorite artists. So it's a bit sad that this album doesn't live up to the magic of his old work. But again, half of the album is well worth the price. There's just a few too many songs that will be skipped in future listenings.

Good Heavens Miss Sakamoto.. it's BEAUTIFUL !!

Album… of… the… YEAR !!!


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