Thomas Dolby | Forty: Live Limited Edition

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Forty: Live Limited Edition

by Thomas Dolby

Organic electronics back up a melodic and lyrical vocal style. Jazz-tinged chordal progressions, but using unexpected sounds and textures. Intimate, atmospheric, and highly autobiographical.
Genre: Electronic: Soundscapes
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Ability To Swing
4:10 $0.99
2. Screen Kiss
5:33 $0.99
3. I Love You Goodbye
7:21 $0.99
4. I Scare Myself
5:56 $0.99
5. One Of Our Submarines
5:35 $0.99
6. My Brain Is Like A Sieve
5:24 $0.99
7. Hyperactive
4:44 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
This is a live CD, recorded at two special invitation-only Thomas Dolby concerts. The artist is also making available a limited number of autographed, hand-numbered copies.

The son of an eminent British Archaeologist, Thomas Dolby began his performing career beneath the streets of Paris, playing his synthesizer-based songs in the Metro subway.

In the late 70's he broke out of bedsitterland as a session player, and was a featured keyboardist on albums by artists ranging from Lene Lovich (for whom he wrote "New Toy") to the Thompson Twins, to Joan Armatrading ("Walk Under Ladders"), to Def Lepperd and Foreigner (recognize the synth intro to "Waiting for a Girl like You"?) He used the proceeds from these gigs to pay for his first album, the curiously prophetic "Golden Age of Wireless."

The advent of MTV brought Dolby increased exposure: His well-produced and intelligent videos stood out from the pack, and his songs "She Blinded Me With Science" and "Hyperactive" became huge hits. Several world tours further established him as one of the definitive artists of the 1980's. This led to guest spots playing with superstars like Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, and Joni Mitchell, and offers of film scoring work from the likes of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.

Numerous awards and five Grammy nominations later, Thomas had achieved worldwide recognition and commercial success as an artist. Yet by the early 90's his music had become increasingly personal and atmospheric. The lush soundscapes that underpinned his evocative vocals won him fans both of ambient music and of the singer-songwriter genre. This fanatical following has made Dolby a subject of endless discussion and debate on the Internet, and today's fans tend to favor this more intimate side of Thomas' music over the more widely-known commercialism of "Science."

The audio technology company Mr. Dolby founded in 1996 has kept him largely out of the musical limelight. Beatnik, Inc., created a key technology for sound on the Web, and is currently enjoying tremendous success in the mobile phone market.

It is therefore a very welcome surprise that he has turned an invitation-only private performance into a new CD.

"Forty" captures the unique and rare moment when Thomas returned to the musical stage after a lengthy sojourn in Silicon Valley.

He chose a set of his personal favorite songs, updated them to reflect modern times, and delivers them here in a touching and poignant manner in front of a small audience.

This album suggests that, as and when Thomas decides to get back into music and release some brand new and original studio material, we can look forward to a growing maturity in his voice and his arranging and performing style.



to write a review

CD Baby

Organic electronics back up a melodic and lyrical vocal style. Jazz-tinged chordal progressions, but using unexpected sounds and textures. Intimate, atmospheric, and highly autobiographical.

D. W.

New Sounds of Old Favorites
It's interesting to hear the difference between a studio and a live performance. This recording proves that Mr. Dolby has the raw talent to sound great even without all the bells and whistles of studio assistance. Own it! Like it!

James Lolley

Dolby's music endures
Dolby keeps true to the feelings and sound of his original creations. Dating all the way back to "Golden Age of Wireless", some of these songs have proven their lasting power. Quirky, sometimes dark, and melodic, all of these songs were hand-chosen by Dolby and surprisingly performed live with just a little help of accompaniment. The original “environments” Dolby is known to create and surround his music is understandably lacking because of the live performance, but the intimate gathering of people and background noise makes you feel as if you are part of this event. The recording is excellent, as you would expect a Dolby recording to be. The arrangements of his songs are great considering he supposedly made the plans for these invitation-only performances on the spur of the moment. The live noise is not present during the music, and does not detract from the performance in any way. True, this disc will mainly appeal to the true Dolby collector, but it still has appeal for the person who just remembers his pop-chart tunes. I am a collector of Dolby material since 1984. #636/1000.

Robert Wright

Pro: It exists. Con: It's too short!
It's too bad Thomas Dolby is successful at everything he does, i.e., his Beatnik, Inc. endeavors. Even with the warts on this recording (Mr. Dolby quite obviously has scar tissue on his vocal cords, referred to in the 'biz' as nodules or nodes, easily eliminated with minimal surgery and vocal rehabilitation), and the underscrutinized overuse of a computer software program called AutoTune by Antares on the vocal track (the mixer evidently set it to Auto/Chromatic instead of tailoring it to each performance's musical key), it's obvious Dolby could make a mint with a smallish tour of intimate theaters, enjoying the same creative freedom he seemed to relish on this recording. If you're a fan, this album will bring you closer to the truth of Dolby's artistry, replete with the lush soundscapes and wonderfully angular chord voicings and rhythms we've come to expect. But forget all that -- the true joy of this recording is hearing someone have such an obviously good time doing something only he can do.


Thomas - please do a tour and visit NYC!
This CD is really cool - a bit stripped down musically of course, because of the venue - but cool. I feel very fortunate to have seen TD during the "Aliens Ate My Buick" tour at the old Ritz here in NYC, and to this day I tell people it's one of my top 5 favorite concerts. He totally blew the roof off the place. I sincerely hope this CD sells well and Mr. Dolby will consider writing some new material and visiting some major metro areas for a tour. Thomas, we're way overdue.



Mike Meadway

The CD was finished far too soon
A rare treat, especially for those who've seen Dolby perform live. Thomas' music has always been ahead of the crowd and well-orchestrated, and I'm always astonished that he's able to carry the studio polish with him to the stage. It's not often the music alone at a live performance carries the show. It's also nice to hear Thomas do a bit of talking; entreprenuerial artists with performance talent aren't too common, and I was left wishing that we had more time to listen to the man behind the music.

Rita Rodriguez

The Ability to Swing, Sing, and Continually Please
Like so many other reviewers, I've been a long time Dolby fan. So, when I found this offering through Dolby's website, I couldn't wait to give it a listen. Having just turned 40 myself, I really appreciate the introspect that went into this party/CD. Buy this CD and you'll feel like you've attended the greatest birthday party ever. HAPPY BIRTHDAY THOMAS!


Thomas Dolby Serves Birthday Treat Sweet As Cake.
Customarily it is the birthday boy who gets the presents but with the new CD "Forty" it is musician Thomas Dolby who is dishing out the goodies. This isn't just another "best of" album. An intimate serving of seven songs selected from various moments in Thomas's career "Forty" offers a fresh perspective on familiar favorites. Thomas is backed by keyboardist and wind player Brian Salter who offers some very inspired EWI performances, as well as the cello of Caroline Lavelle and the vocals of Leslie Adams. Together they form a four piece combo whose sound is surprisingly big without sounding at all over produced. The recording has a very personal feel to it and much like the audience's calls heard during the final fade, the listener is left shouting for more.

Pat Doyle

At Forty Thomas still sounds great ! How about a new album ?
Thomas Dolby has been a favourite of mine since his first album (golden age of wireless on vinyl).I have had all of his albums on cd for quite some time.I realize that his career has gone in some new directions but I've always been hopeful that he might release something new. This cd was a delight to listen to (but too short thus the 4). Come on Thomas give us a new studio recording.
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