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November 13th, 2013 12:01 am JEFF ROSENBERG | Music Stories

Mic Check: Thomas Dolby

On The Invisible Lighthouse

music_thomasdolby_4002THOMAS DOLBY - IMAGE: Bruce + Jana
From his early, electronic-infused New Wave hits to his current position as music director of TED—and encompassing his development of audio software used for ringtones—Thomas Dolby has always represented the vanguard of music and technology. So it’s surprising to find him in his new project, The Invisible Lighthouse, besotted by nostalgia for a soon-to-be-lost artifact of his childhood, and the distant history of the remote British region of East Anglia where he grew up. Indeed, while the subject matter looks backward—as well as inward, to questions about the nature of memory itself—Dolby’s delivery system is as innovative as ever. The documentary film he self-produced, wrote, directed and edited forms the backdrop of his current performance, while its music score and narration are rendered live by Dolby. Its sound effects, likewise, are generated onstage by Foley artist (and groovy guitarist) Blake Leyh. Dolby explained to Willamette Week how the new project ties into themes in his previous work.

“I think there’s always been a sense of parallel worlds in my music. Very often I cast myself as a sort of dissident, underground writer, ham-radio operator…. And I found myself in that guise with this piece, just wanting to document the closing of the lighthouse, and finding that the Ministry of Defence and the National Trust and Trinity House were all [opposed]. So I sort of took the law into my own hands and did a clandestine commando raid on the island. And I thought, if I get arrested and thrown off the island—or worse yet, walk into one of the supposed unexploded bombs on the island—it would at least make for an exciting climax to my film.”

SEE IT: Thomas Dolby performs The Invisible Lighthouse at Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta St., on Tuesday, Nov. 19. 8 pm. General admission is $20 advance, $25 day of show. VIP is $60 advance, $65 day of show. 21 .

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