Thomas Dolby, the multi-Grammy-nominated artist and producer, takes his new live show — part film, part concert, part transmedia event — on the road and on Saturday, Nov. 23, it comes to the Crest Theater in Sacramento. Each show will be a unique event that cannot be replicated outside of Dolby’s theater performance.
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In a 20-date tour of historic arthouse cinemas and independent film festivals, Dolby will perform a live narration and musical score in front of a projected film image, accompanied by Foley artist/musician/sound designer Blake Leyh.
Between them they will bring to audiences an innovative hybrid of documentary and art installation, as they manipulate sound, music and lighting to dramatic effect.
“The Invisible Lighthouse” is a new film that Dolby shot and edited entirely himself, detailing the closure of a beautiful lighthouse on the tip of a mysterious ex-military island off the East Coast of England.
Thomas has known the evocative flash of this lighthouse since he was a child. Moved to pick up a film camera and document its inevitable closure, he received little co-operation from the authorities. So he risked a clandestine dawn raid on the island in a rigid inflatable boat, and captured the eerie atmosphere of the island and the final flash of its iconic landmark using a remote-controlled drone and a selection of high-tech spy cameras.
“The Invisible Lighthouse” has already received acclaim at U.S. film festivals including the Los Angeles DIY Film Festival, where it won the awards for Best Documentary and Best Director, L.A.’s Hollyshorts, the Albuquerque Film and Media Experience, the Columbia Gorge Film Festival and JamFest in New Orleans, where it won for Best Documentary Short.
Also on the road will be “The Time Capsule,” an intriguing 1930s teardrop trailer bristling with high-tech equipment. VIP guests will be invited to step into the trailer and ask Thomas a question in person. The best conversations will be instantly uploaded to Dolby’s YouTube channel.
Dolby was an indelible part of the electronic music landscape on both sides of the Atlantic in the ’80s.
The Zelig of synthpop, he was seemingly there or thereabouts at all points of that crucial decade. He enjoyed huge solo success with the singles “She Blinded Me With Science” and “Hyperactive!,” composed and performed on hits for everyone from AOR giants Foreigner to none-more-quirky new-wave girl Lene Lovich, produced three superlative albums for Prefab Sprout, and even co-wrote the much-sampled early rap classic “Magic’s Wand” by Whodini.
In 2011 he released “A Map of the Floating City,” his first solo album in almost two decades. A “travelog across three imaginary continents,” A Map comprises Amerikana, Oceanea and Urbanoia, available as three separate EPs as well as an album consisting of those same constituent parts. Dolby has been both — pop star and now esoteric and experimental but highly accessible albums artist.
“I’m happy,” he said, “to settle into chapter two of my career and make a bunch of albums that are challenging, adventurous and eye-opening.”
Leyh is a composer, music supervisor, music producer and sound designer who lives in New York City. Born in New York but raised in England until age 15, Leyh has worked in film post-production sound and music for 30 years.
His sound credits include films by James Cameron, The Coen Brothers, Spike Lee, Ang Lee, John Waters, Jonathan Demme, Julie Taymor and Stephen Daldry. Leyh was the music supervisor and composer for all five seasons of HBO’s acclaimed series “The Wire,” and was the music supervisor for David Simon’s New Orleans series “Treme.” He has composed musical scores for more than 20 feature films, including many award-winning documentaries.
For tickets go to tickets.com or call the Crest at 800-225-2277. Doors open at 7 p.m. for the 8.p.m. live show.