The eventual schism that resulted in the formation of Luca Turilli's Rhapsody and the termination of his former solo projects and association with his mainstay brand Rhapsody Of Fire could be seen as inevitable, insofar that with the conclusion of the second stream of episodes of the original Emerald Sword saga that some changing of the guard was in the works, especially considering the monumental feat of putting out 14 albums in less than 20 years…
Thomas Dolby, the iconic '80s star whose smash hits 'She Blinded Me With Science' and 'Hyperactive' helped define the MTV generation/revolution, will break his 20-year silence with A Map of the Floating City. The album, featuring appearances by special guest artists Mark Knopfler, Regina Spektor, Natalie MacMaster, Bruce Woolley, Imogen Heap and Eddi Reader, will be will be released on Lost Toy People Records as a physical CD, and in a special Deluxe Edition featuring a second disc of instrumentals and bonus tracks. Of the album, which is divided into three parts, Dolby says, "The new songs are organic and very personal. A Map of the Floating City is a travelogue across three imaginary continents: In Amerikana I'm reflecting with affection on the years I spent living in the U.S.A., and my fascination with its roots music. Urbanoia is a dark place, a little unsettling… I'm not a city person. And in Oceanea I return to my natural home on the windswept coastline."
Collection includes: 'The Golden Age Of Wireless' (1982); 'The Flat Earth' (1984); 'Aliens Ate My Buick' (1988); 'Astronauts & Heretics' (1992); 'The Gate To The Mind's Eye' (1994); 'A Map Of The Floating City' (2011).
After what had seemed like a promising start with "She Blinded Me With Science" in 1983, Thomas Dolby only charted with two other singles in the U.S. (though he had nine chart singles in his native U.K., 1981-1992). This 16-track compilation, embracing both his Capitol/EMI and Warner Bros. recordings, demonstrates that Dolby deserved better. His synthesizer-based songs are consistently catchy and clever, and especially notable are early songs like "Urges" and "Leipzig" that have not previously appeared on a U.S. album. "One of Our Submarines," Dolby's cover of Dan Hicks' "I Scare Myself," and "Hyperactive!" all hold up well. Some of the later (non-hit) material from the albums Aliens Ate My Buick and Astronauts & Heretics is less impressive; a better choice could have been made from those records. But for the most part, this is an efficient collection that justifies its name.
Exceptionally mature for a sophomore effort, The Flat Earth has held up considerably well since its 1984 release. This staying power belongs to a fantastic ensemble of supporting players as much as to Thomas Dolby's songwriting and crisp production. "Dissidents" steps in cautiously and conjures images of blacklisted authors and ugly snow, gray from oppression. Here and elsewhere, Matthew Seligman's bass is a welcome addition – throughout the album his work is lavish, growling, popping through octaves, funk-a-fied and twinkling with harmonics. The title track, "The Flat Earth," is a wondrous R&B daydream of piano and Motown stabs of rhythm guitar. "Screen Kiss" has a similarly ethereal quality, and the lyrics are lush with imagery, if occasionally cryptic. "White City"'s drug reference and chugging groove are as murky as they are energizing, so new wavers might find themselves frowning a bit on the dancefloor. Then there is "Mulu the Rain Forest," a globally minded curiosity of foreboding and disorienting samples that certainly feels a long way off from The Golden Age of Wireless.