players

Thomas Dolby debuts 'The Floating City' transmedia game

Best known as the singer/synthesist behind the Top 5 smash hit “She Blinded Me With Science” and as the co-inventor of the Beatnik polyphonic ringtone engine, Thomas Dolby today announced his latest creation: The Floating City is a rich transmedia game with a living world that changes and reacts to player contributions. It uses web browsers, social networks, and even smart phones and iPads as a way for fans to access his latest musical endeavors.

The Floating City is open for registration from today at floatingcity.com. Gameplay commences on June 22nd at 5 p.m. GMT (1 p.m. ET in the U.S.). Players from around the world will form tribes and collaborate to earn free music downloads, merchandise and concert tickets. The leading tribe will even win the right to stage a private concert at which Thomas Dolby and his band will perform his forthcoming album in its entirety.

Completely free to the public, The Floating City is a casual game that hooks you into building a whole story world with your tribe — as deep as you want to go. It runs on a standard web browser, smartphone or iPad without additional software installation. It is targeted at players of all ages, regardless of whether they are familiar with Thomas Dolby’s catalog. But diehard fans of the five-time Grammy™-nominated songwriter will be delighted to find that The Floating City integrates characters, places, and objects named in every one of his albums going back to the beginning of his career . . . and before.

The Floating City is set against a dystopian vision of the 1940s that might have existed had WWII turned out a lot differently,” says Dolby. A global energy experiment went haywire, the Earth’s magnetic fields have been reversed, and the planetary climate system violated. Science has betrayed us: now what must the species do to survive?

Survivors explore a fictional Google map, forming tribes and trading relics amidst a bizarre sea-going barter society. As they struggle to unravel the enigma that is The Floating City, players can haggle over merchandise and music downloads — including brand new songs from the much anticipated CD A Map of the Floating City, Dolby’s first album in 20 years, which will be released following the climax of the game.

“This is a brilliant concept,’ said writer/economist Steven Levitt. “It’s a cross between Freakonomics and Burning Man, with a back-story that would have made J.G. Ballard proud.”

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About Thomas Dolby

Thomas Dolby became a huge star in the ’80s when his songs “She Blinded Me With Science” and “Hyperactive” topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart and were on constant rotation at MTV. His unique keyboard playing led to guest performances with the likes of David Bowie (Live Aid), Stevie Wonder (Grammy™ awards) and Roger Waters (The Wall) and he became a top producer, garnering five Grammy™ nominations.

Dolby abandoned the music business in the 1990s to found Beatnik Inc., a Silicon Valley tech company that built the ringtone synthesizer embedded in over 3 billion mobile phones worldwide. Now retired from Beatnik, he has returned to music and has been completing his first studio album in more than 20 years.

The Floating City game consolidates Dolby’s reputation as one of the foremost pioneers of electronic alt-culture. On hearing of the game, counter-cabaret diva Amanda Palmer commented: “Thomas Dolby is to Steampunk what Iggy Pop was to Punk!”

Other Lives Announce Dates With The National, The Decemberists

There’s no point in trying to unearth an obvious “single” in Other Lives’ second album,Tamer Animals. Here’s a better idea instead: succumb. Let every last song wash over you like proper long players once did, from the swift strings and pulsating horns— a technique learned from old Philip Glass LPs—of “Dark Horse” to the richly orchestrated denouement of “Heading East,” a cut that could have been cribbed from the early instrumental sessions of Other Lives’ old band Kunek.

“The core of that band is still with me,” says frontman Jesse Tabish, who founded Kunek with cellist Jenny Hsu and drummer Colby Owens. “In a lot of ways, it’s still what I gravitate towards, songwriting wise.”

Unlike their self-titled debut—a studio-bound effort that was produced by Beck’s longtime drummer, Joey WaronkerTamer Animals was tracked in the privacy of the band’s own space in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Waronker eventually mixed the entire affair and sanded down its edges, but it took Other Lives 14 months to get to that point. We’re not talking about lazy Sunday sessions here, either. More like 11 songs that were carefully sculpted over time, with certain sounds creeping up when the record called for them, and nothing that’s forced or rushed. “Every sound has a purpose without being too indulgent,” explains Tabish. “There’s nothing like, ‘Hey, let’s rock out on this!’ It’s homemade in a way. For better or for worse, it’s all our sound.”

That sound amounts to one hell of a sweeping listen—an atmosphere, a mood, a state of mind. So while you might find yourself going back to the minor-key melodies of “Dust Bowl III” or the Morricone-caliber arrangements of “Old Statues” more often than not, it’s all part of a greater whole. And since Tabish prefers treating his vocals like an instrument, the lyrics are left open to interpretation.

To be honest, they don’t even matter in the end. What matters is how Tamer Animals makes you feel; how it aims to hit you in the chest…hard, like the Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Sigur Rós LPs that made Tabish want to write this kind of music in the first place. (If you can believe it, he played in punk bands as a kid and didn’t resume the piano lessons he started in third grade until he was 18.)

“I’d rather us be an ensemble than a rock band,” he says. “That’s my goal—to get away from those traditional ideas. It’s not a strength in numbers kinda thing, either, where 12 people are on stage and five of them are playing the same melody. When the music calls for that many players, we’ll go there. We’ll destroy the band itself.”

He’s smiling as he says that. And frankly, so are we.

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Tour Dates

4/19/11 Cain’s Ballroom Tulsa, OK w/ The National

4/29/11 House of Blues Dallas, TX w/ The Decemberists

4/30/11 Stubb’s Waller Creek Austin, TX w/ The Decemberists

5/12/11 High Noon Saloon Madison, WI w/ S. Carey

5/13/11 The Mill Iowa City, IA w/ S. Carey

5/14/11 Slowdown Jr. Omaha, NE w/ S. Carey

5/15/11 The Record Bar Kansas City, MO w/ S. Carey

5/16/11 Hi-Dive Denver, CO w/ S. Carey

5/18/11 Club Congress Tucson, AZ w/ S. Carey

5/19/11 Soda Bar San Diego, CA w/ S. Carey

5/20/11 Velvet Jones Santa Barbara, CA w/ S. Carey

5/21/11 The Satellite Los Angeles, CA w/ S. Carey

5/22/11 Henry Miller Library Big Sur, CA w/ S. Carey

5/24/11 Café Du Nord San Francisco, CA w/ S. Carey

5/25/11 Sophia’s Thai Kitchen Davis, CA w/ S. Carey

5/26/11 Doug Fir Lounge Portland, OR w/ S. Carey

5/27/11 Panadaland Bellingham, WA w/ S. Carey

5/29/11 Sasquatch Music Festival Quincy, WA (festival)

5/30/11 The Badlander Missoula, MN w/ S. Carey

The Everyone Orchestra Performs in Colorado

The Everyone Orchestra embarks on a run of Colorado shows at the end of May including a stop in Fort Collins and three performances in Denver from May 20th – May 23rd. This rendition of the project features a stellar line up of nationally renowned talent including Steve Kimock (SKB, Zero), Kyle Hollingsworth (SCI), Jennifer Hartswick (Trey Anastasio Band), Dave Watts (The Motet), Jamie Janover (Zilla), Garrett Sayers (The Motet), Jamie Masefield (Jazz Mandolin Project) and YOU.

How do you fit into the Everyone Orchestra? The fully improvised performance is the brainchild of founder Matt Butler, who incorporates the skill set of the assembled all-star line up with the voices and sounds of the audience for a unique and fun musical experience.

Literally an orchestra where everyone in the room takes part, the Everyone Orchestra brings together a form of musical improvisation that is rarely accomplished to this degree. While the band actually only consists of one key player – conductor Matt Butler – each show features a rotating cast of up to a dozen players on any given night. Drawing on the wealth of talent local to the area he visits, or those performing at a festival, the concept lures local and national players who are often performing for the first time together and the audience of course, is performing right along.

The four-night traveling event will kick off at Hodi’s Half Note in Fort Collins on May 20th and will continue to Quixotes True Blue (formerly Owsleys) on Saturday May 21 and Sunday May 22nd. The Sunday, May 23rd performance is billed as a happy hour show featuring an acoustic set (minus Hollingsworth), and with other special guests yet to be announced.

The locally based organization, Conscious Alliance, will also be hosting a food drive, benefiting the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. All patrons that donate 10 non-perishable food items will receive a free limited- edition Everyone Orchestra 2010 Colorado Tour poster created by the very special artist, Ryan Karrigant. Donations can be made with Conscious Alliance representatives at the front entrance of each venue.

Advance tickets for the Denver performance are on sale now at www.quixotes.com and for more information about the event and line up check out Everyone Orchestra.

ON TOUR:

Thursday, May 20 - Hodi’s Half Note, Ft. Collins, CO with opening act Acorn Project

Friday, May 21 - Quixotes True Blue, Denver with opening act Acorn Project

Saturday, May 22 - Quixtoes True Blue, Denver Euforquestra

Sunday, May 23 - Quixotes True Blue, Denver (acoustic, happy hour set)