Thomas Dolby's The Invisible Lighthouse at Eden Project this week
Thomas Dolby's The Invisible Lighthouse, Eden Project, Wednesday.
He was one of the pioneers of his generation, firmly on the frontline as technology carried music into another realm. Thomas Dolby is probably best known for his synth-pop hits of the early Eighties, She Blinded Me with Science, Windpower and Hyperactive! and the accompanying videos – the most memorable featuring eccentric TV boffin Magnus Pike.
Over the years he has established himself, not only as a respected solo artist, but also as a record producer and session musician.
But his latest project encompasses all his creative experience, adding award-winning independent film-maker to the list.
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Thomas filmed and edited The Invisible Lighthouse himself – a quest he admits was a very steep learning curve. But it concerns a subject that is very close to his heart, and he didn't want it to, literally, slip away unnoticed.
He is now presenting it as a unique atmospheric transmedia performance, where he accompanies the screening with live narration and musical soundtrack linking songs from his career, from Cloudburst At Shingle Street through to Oceanea and beyond.
In Thomas's native Suffolk there's a mysterious island off the coast that has been an airfield, a military testing ground for experimental weapons and home to the main transmission network for the BBC World Service. On the tip of the island sat the beautiful lighthouse, whose periodic flash of light he had watched dancing on the wall of his childhood bedroom. But it was about to be closed down.
"It's a documentary, but not one where everything is explained; it's like a tone poem, quite impressionistic. I am kind of examining my roots, and the history of the place and all the threads that lead back to the lighthouse.
"In a way the film is an investigation of what parts of memory are real and which parts are implanted," adds Thomas, 54.