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English electronic musician Thomas Dolby has branded himself as a mad scientist, harnessing the power of electronic music as none have before him. Considering how he shaped the electronic music industry and continues to 30 years after his debut, it may be more appropriate to call him an electronic genius. As a teenager, Thomas Robertson earned the nickname "Dolby" because of his fascination with electronic means of music production. The name, which came from Dolby Laboratories, stuck as Thomas Dolby began to make a name for himself in the music scene-- first with Bruce Woolley and the Camera Club, then in Lene Lovich's backing band, having written her single, "New Toy," and eventually contributing synthesizer on "Urgent" by Foreigner and playing keyboard on Def Leopard's Pyromania album.
Dolby went out on his own in the early 80's and his debut solo album, "The Golden Age of Wireless", peaked at #13 on the Billboard Album Chart. He rereleased it four different times, as the original did not include his hit single "She Blinded Me with Science." "The Golden Age of Wireless" set Dolby up as a pioneer of electronic music, and established his talent for writing lyrics that combined science and science fiction with themes of love and relationships.
Dolby went on to release four more solo albums, plus soundtracks, singles and he also produced albums for other artists. In 1993, he took a break from making music to start his own company, Beatnik. Though he intended for the break to be brief, it ultimately proved to be a 20-year hiatus. Yet Dolby was never completely removed from the music scene. In 2001 he began serving as the Musical Director of the TED conference, and debuted his track "Love Is a Loaded Pistol," at the conference in February 2010. The album that he eventually released in 2011 called "A Map of the Floating City" was released in three parts. It also featured a video game in which players could trade, collaborate and compete to get to "the Floating City" and unlock new tracks from the upcoming album. The game earned Dolby new fans, but that wasn't the point. Instead, he claimed that it was his latest foray into how technology could enhance the audience's experience with his music.
The album was produced in Dolby's home studio which is housed in a 1930's era lifeboat and powered by solar panels and a wind turbine. In celebration of the three-part album, Dolby is planning his first extended tour in decades. In true Dolby sci-fi style, the tour will feature a "time-capsule": a three-seater trailer in which fans and guest artists can record 30-second messages for the future-- and more immediately for YouTube. In the midst of his jet-setting this spring, Dolby will be playing World Cafe: Free At Noon on Friday March 23rd. This is a show that you'll have to see to believe.
Recent Release: A Map Of The Floating City
Release Date: October 25, 2011
Label: Redeye Label
Hometown: London, England