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Thomas Dolby

Dolby Illuminates Wisconsin with The Invisible Lighthouse Tour

Thomas Dolby - The Invisible Lighthouse Tour Artist's Facebook
by John Noyd
October 2013

For someone who is likes being on the cusp of things, Thomas Dolby certainly has a strong passion for the past; particularly when it comes to his current tour, a multimedia event that incorporates both the latest in music technology and an old-fashioned Foley artist providing sound effects. “It’s a film with a live soundtrack, which is very different from a concert,” Dolby says, “We do everything live onstage. It’s a very dreamy, atmospheric piece.” Focused on his personal efforts to preserve coastal lighthouses long since outdated by radar and suborbital satellites, but a cherished part of growing up on the north coast of England, Dolby’s Invisible Lighthouse tour is cutting-edge nostalgia. Ever the Renaissance man, Dolby shot the short film himself using remote control drones and high-tech spy cameras when the British government refused to give him permission to document these maritime relics; turning the film from a documentary into a clandestine adventure. “It’s a little bit tongue in cheek,” he explains. “It’s really an exploration of my childhood memories and how they adapted over time. The underlying theme of the film is an examination of our memories and how unreliable they are.”

Beyond his own memories, Dolby also sees his preservationist campaign as a cultural crusade. Citing a Doomsday list that details 46 American lighthouses threatened by erosion or lack of upkeep; Dolby felt obliged to carry his message to America. “Some of these marvelous lighthouses have stood watch over our coasts for centuries, through devastating hurricanes, epic sea battles, daring rescues and thwarted invasions,” Dolby explains. “The U.S. public has a perpetual love affair with the lighthouse, but is probably unaware that many are on the verge of being lost forever. It is so sad to see them crumble. America is still a young country and we should be doing all we can to preserve our historic landmarks for future generations to enjoy.”

Long an advocate of imaginative applications of technology, it should come as no surprise that the man who built a recording studio inside a 1930’s lifeboat that is powered entirely by renewable energy should employ advanced media tools to celebrate abandoned maritime icons. “I think as you get into middle age you tend to look back on your achievements and try and make sense out of all of them,” says Dolby, who at age 55 has achievements ranging from radio hits to videogame designs and Silicone Valley patents. A visionary whose insatiable curiosity creates alternative worlds, Thomas Dolby brings his transmedia event to Madison’s Majestic on November 6th and Milwaukee’s Shank Hall November 7th. For more information check out his website www.thomasdolby.com or find The Invisible Lighthouse Tour trailer on YouTube. Seeing is believing.


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