Thomas Dolby Rocks the Computer in Studio 4A

Songs from Studio 4A

Thomas Dolby in NPR's Studio 4A

Thomas Dolby set up his equipment in Studio 4A for a performance. Chris Nelson, NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Chris Nelson, NPR
Thomas Dolby

Thomas Dolby's last studio recording was in 1993. He has since been creating ringtones with his company, Beatnik. Scroll down to hear songs from the Studio 4A session. www.conqueroo.com hide caption

itoggle caption www.conqueroo.com

Thomas Dolby, the mad-scientist-as-musician first boggled listeners in the 1980s with his smash hit, "She Blinded Me with Science." Fans will also remember equally arresting songs like "Hyperactive," "Airhead" and "One of Our Submarines."

Dolby's last studio recording was in 1993, and we haven't heard much from him since... at least not directly.

For one thing, he's been busy developing ringtones.

Thomas Dolby founded a company called Beatnik, which sold software to Nokia.

Now, about 300 million phones play polyphonic melodies thanks to Dolby's dabblings.

He thought it would be a brief hiatus from music, but the new business took him away from the stage and the recording studio for more than a decade. Now, he's playing and touring again, with a new CD of live performances called The Sole Inhabitant.

Thomas Dolby set up his equipment for us in NPR's Studio 4A earlier this month, and it's striking to see how times have changed for electronic musicians. Gone are the days of bulky synthesizers, tape loops and vacuum tubes.

Dolby's setup consists of a couple of small keyboards, a drum pad and a Macintosh laptop.

Related NPR Stories

Purchase Featured Music

Sole Inhabitant CD [Autographed]

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
Sole Inhabitant CD [Autographed]
Artist
Thomas Dolby
Label
Invisible Hands
Released
2006

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.