Thomas Dolby Releases New CD + DVD
By James Grahame
2009 is shaping up to be a big year for Thomas Dolby. He's working on a brand new album in his lifeboat studio, and EMI is slated to release a 'best of' CD + DVD set entitled The Singular Thomas Dolby this spring.
Thomas reminisces, "EMI is not all a-buzz the way it was when I first walked in there
around 1980. The atmosphere was quite mellow, to say the least. Still,
it was an interesting sensation, being back in the offices of a major
label, staring at tiny transparencies on a light box through a loom.
Outtakes from old photo sessions where the picture commonly used was
the only one I remembered; and entire sessions I’d forgotten about
completely. And there were some nice surprises too: rolls of stills
taken during video shoots. Paparazzi snaps of me palling around with
my then label-mates Queen, Duran Duran, and Spandau Ballet. One aspect
of getting older is, while I’m still picky about the way I look from
different angles and with different expressions… the old shots all look
pretty damn good!
When a producer attends a mastering session, the engineer has often pre-prepared EQ and volume levels on the songs, cut the gaps to length etc. Hopefully there’s not a lot of tweaking to do. Yet this was quite a tricky one, because of the enormous difference in sonic style between ‘Urges’ circa 1980 and ‘I Love You Goodbye’ a dozen or so years later, and all the singles in between.
There were necessary compromises made when we originally cut the vinyl versions, because vinyl is sensitive to some artefacts and if there’s too much bass, the grooves gut cut too deep for safe manufacturing. Yet I’ve become accustomed to those modified sonics over the years, so it’s a bit of a shock to hear the songs back to the way they were when they first came out of the studio."
The 'best of' disc will be followed by remastered versions of 1982's The Golden Age of Wireless and 1984's The Flat Earth. And - with any luck - the yet-unnamed new album will hit shelves before the year is out.
You could be forgiven for thinking that Dolby had quietly disappeared into the background hum of the space-time continuum, but he took a fifteen year hiatus from the recording industry to found Beatnik, a Silicon Valley software company best known for creating the polyphonic ringtone engine hidden in millions of Nokia, Samsung and Motorola mobile phones. 2006 marked his return to live touring and the release of an independent live CD/DVD, The Sole Inhabitant.