Thomas Dolby Floats His Boat

Dave DiMartino
Maximum Performance (NEW)

There are a select few artists who managed to be at precisely the right place at the right time--and one of the most prominent may be Thomas Dolby, whose "She Blinded Me With Science" hit of the early '80s directly coincided with the rise of MTV as pop music's major driving force.

Fortunately for us, Thomas Dolby was actually quite good.

And perhaps even more fortunately: He still is. After an extended "sabbatical" in extracurricular endeavors--one which verged on the 20-year mark--the highly skilled, personable singer/songwriter with a taste for tech has returned with a dazzling new album that in many ways continues where he left off. Great songwriting, great singing, fabulous, innovative arrangements and an unavoidable sense of someone looking forward, in both the artistic and the business sense.

Dolby's new album, A Map Of The Floating City, is released on his own Lost Toy People label and consists of three distinct parts--all of which also play a role in his so-called "transmedia game" The Floating City, of which you'll hear more about later. While it features a fascinating array of musical guests, including Mark Knopfler, Regina Spektor, Eddi Reader, and long-ago bandmate Bruce Wooley (of '80s "& the Camera Club" fame), the songs and Dolby's performance of them is the core of it all--and as a whole, the affair buzzes with excitement and innovation. It's very good.

In Los Angeles recently, Dolby stopped by the Y! Music studios for an interview and a "solo" performance that, thanks to the marvels of technology, sounded anything but solo. Give a listen to the music and check out what the man himself has to say about the past 20 years and more.