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The Flat Earth [CD]

Thomas Dolby Audio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Audio CD (2 July 1984)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B000002U8E
  • Other Editions: Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,163 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Dissidents 4:550.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. The Flat Earth 6:410.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Screen Kiss 5:330.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. White City 5:190.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Mulu The Rain Forest 5:000.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. I Scare Myself 5:400.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Hyperactive! 4:130.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

BBC Review

EMI had tried to make Thomas Dolby into a star with his 1982 debut album The Golden Age Of Wireless, and it seemed that he was destined to be a much-loved cult artist, without hitting pop's jackpot.

But then, he went and cornered the market as the country's leading pop-boffin after his US smash, She Blinded Me With Science, one of the few tracks in pop music to feature 1970s TV celebrity scientist Dr. Magnus Pyke.

When The Flat Earth was released in March 1984, no-one in the UK quite knew what to make of Dolby. And he delighted and perplexed his audience with a record that refused to fit into any pigeonhole whatsoever.

The old first side is one of the best in 80s popular music. It is like a Joni Mitchell album made by a bloke from Suffolk. After the electronica of Dissidents, we have two of his most tender tracks. The title cut, with its metronomic beat underlining a sweet, touching eco/personal sentiment (''This flat old earth is in your gentle hands'') is arguably his best song. Screen Kiss is one of the few tracks that mention Croydon and get away with it. This melancholia drifted over directly into his production work with Prefab Sprout.

Side two was always more problematic. White City with Robyn Hitchcock's monologue was always fairly good value, as was the straight trombone-heavy version of Dan Hicks' I Scare Myself. Mulu The Rainforest sounds as skewiff as it did in 1984. Hyperactive, originally written for Michael Jackson (and Dolby's sole UK Top 20 entry) closed the original album. Its machine-driven funk felt slightly out of place jarring with the overall sensitivity of The Flat Earth. It does, however, remain quite a hoot.

The album has been augmented with in-era bonuses, such as Get Out Of My Mix, the first appearance of Dolby's Cube (which became infinitely more interesting when George Clinton got involved); his collaboration with Ryuichi Sakamoto, Field Work and Puppet Theatre, his own version of the song he wrote for rap duo Whodini, Magic's Wand.

When the The Flat Earth works, it is something of a minor masterpiece. When it fails, it still has enough invention and élan to carry it off. 25 years later, I wholeheartedly stand by it. --Daryl Easlea

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Product Description


Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfection in 7 Tracks 2 May 2001
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Without a doubt my favourite record of all time. Too many people incorrectly associate Thomas Dolby with the quirky Hyperactive and expect all his tracks to be simular. I encourage anyone who does to buy this album. Not only will it change your opinion of Thomas Dolby but it will make you the lucky owner of one of the best written and brilliantly produced albums of the eighties (if not all time). Every track is different, from the haunting Mulu to the sublime title track. Do yourself a favour a buy this album, however be warned Dolby can become addictive
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thomas Dolby's masterpiece 10 Mar 2000
Format:Audio CD
Seven songs that are almost perfect, superbly written and played. The Flat Earth has rock, jazz, funk, soul and computer wizardy in abundance. The opening song Dissidents is probably the weakest song here, but still tells a interesting story with a super bass line. The title song The Flat Earth is an emotional outpouring, gripping in melody and word. Screen Kiss follows, and disects Hollywood with humour and style. White City is an apt interpretation of the Orwell 1984 book, and has a great closing line dismissing flat Bedford! Mulu The Rain Forest is as intriguing as it's title, darkly foreboding, and ecological in its message. I Scare Myself, composed by Dan Hicks, is a smoky jazz piece, with a super trombone solo and sampled vocals. Hyperactive! concludes the album, and is a frantic, witty pop song, a deserved hit single. A superb album to return to again and again.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If I could give it 6 stars, I would... 10 Aug 2002
Format:Audio CD
I vividly remember the day I first heard 'The Flat Earth' back in 1984. I knew instantly that it was something very special indeed. It usually takes me a good few listens before I can really start to appreciate an album, and I can honestly remember after the first listen smiling to myself, and thinking 'Wow, this is amazing'. It is still the best album I have ever heard (and I'm not easily impressed). If I was stranded on a desert island with a CD player, an endless power supply and could only have one album, this would be it (no contest). If I could give it 6 stars, believe me I would. Buy it. Enough said.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Frantic yet rich and warm 6 Oct 2005
Format:Audio CD
My guess is, if youve gotten this far as to be reading a review of a Thomas Dolby CD of tracks he wrote and recorded so many years ago... then youre probably already sold on his work.
If , however, you are here as a new recruit to the ranks of Dolbyphiles having heard a couple of tracks somewhere or seen his name appended to movie sountracks or production of other artist`s cds, then I best explain what to expect.
Creating textures and volume using music and lyrics is difficult.. few people manage to convey via this medium the actual depth of their vision. Dolby does just that.
Flat Earth rolls out the opening in a deep percussive heartbeat with swirling synths in a plaintive cry. Telling his listeners "the earth can be any shape you want it" gives the listener the freedom to relax and open their mind.
Screen Kiss is a rich yet haunting track evoking the shattered dreams of star struck wannabes who head for the bright lights.(personal interpretation).
For me, the Next Track, Mulu the Rainforest, defies description... other than to say it sounds like the beating breathing heart of the Jungle.
"I scare myself" conjures an image of a smoke filled late night Jazz club with one guy at the piano, and an accompanying guitarist and trumpet player... The pianist struggling to come to terms with the depth of his dependancy on the love of his life. Awesome track!
The next Track, Hyperactive, was a UK chart hit, it is frantic and frenetic.. structured chaos with a great dance beat.
The album closes with WHite City and Dissidents.
White city has Dolby at his passionate strident best.. again, a deep bass beat and rainbow of changing synths segues the listener to the final track. Dissidents. Eastern European voiceovers and lyrics evoking the plight of political activists are melded and blended and interwoven with the now prevalent Backbeat Bass.
It will come as no surprise that I highly recommend this CD/Album to Dolby fans, old and new.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mixed Bag 7 Mar 2004
Format:Audio CD
With my original vinyl copy of the Golden Age of Wireless practically worn out, the release day of this album saw me charging down to the record shop with eager anticipation. As I eagerly listened to Mr Dolby's new long-player I was impressed; the thumping bass and journey down the road marked "Funk" had been added to a previously available sense of musical eccentricity.
Over time though I have grown slightly weary and a recent purchase of this album on CD and a refreshing listen has led me to confirm this conclusion. I like the tracks on this album, I like them a lot, but not all at the same time. Maybe I'm fickle but I seem to have gone through phases of liking some of the tunes but this album has never hung together for me. Don't get me wrong there is some genuine class in here, the album opener Dissidents gets you hooked but for me the next three just seem to drift by without exactly ever grabbing your attention, a bit like when you've been driving your car for a while but can't remember just what the scenery or roads were like for the last 20 minutes. Perhaps aware of this Thomas closes White City with a narrative describing Befordshire as a lousy place, very flat. The things change, Mulu the Rain Forest is so unconventional it begs to be listened to and as it drifts off into gecko chorus it is replaced by, what is for me at least, the albums highlight, I Scare Myself. Written by Dan Hicks the lazy, sauntering way this song wraps around the music loving part of your brain is almost indecent. Finally Hyperactive, the best known song on the album seems almost out of place acting as a jolt, a bit like being woken up with a bucket of water thrown over your head whilst in the middle of a pleasant dream. Do I regret buying it - no way, but is it his best work - alas not. Put your hard-earned on the Golden Age Of Wireless first.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars outstanding
The Flat Earth has to be the most neglected underated albums of all time. Every track is full of invention. The musician ship is highly advanced. Read more
Published on 5 Aug 2011 by Robin Emmerson
3.0 out of 5 stars Flat Review.
I never really liked Thomas Dolby. But there was a DJ back in my native Zimbabwe who played "flat earth" relentlessly for ages. Read more
Published on 1 Nov 2010 by Peter C. Chitambo
3.0 out of 5 stars Thomas Dolby The Flat Earth
Not as good as his first album in my opinion, with only a coulple of stanout tracks, the title track and I scare myself being the only 2 good ones on the whole thing-sorry!
Published on 14 Jun 2009 by MR Paul Dobbs
3.0 out of 5 stars Great to be taken back to Dolby
I went to see Thomas Dolby at the City Hall, Newcastle in the early 80's and had an absolute brilliant time. Read more
Published on 19 May 2009 by Sheena Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Utter brilliance, a dream just waiting to envelop you
Windpower first blew into my life in the early 80s, when it briefly touched the lowel echelons of the Top 40. Read more
Published on 30 April 2009 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
It may be old but what a sound!
That fretless bass is just amazing!
I agree with every reviewer about this cd - its 1 of the best ever!
Published on 26 May 2008 by PhilthyPhil
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfection
When this first came out I was into metal. The black sabbath, iron maiden type of metal. I was also into a bit of prog rock via Rush. Read more
Published on 8 Feb 2008 by Mr. Christopher Limb
5.0 out of 5 stars Sublime electro-pop album that still sounds fresh today.
Given that Thomas Dolby was , and presumably still is, a passionate advocator of internet technology and was also one of the first people to suss the business potential of ring... Read more
Published on 7 May 2007 by russell clarke
5.0 out of 5 stars nuff sed
The evolution of contempory music:
Dark Side Of the Moon...
The Flat Earth...
OK Computer...
They're brilliant. Read more
Published on 13 Jan 2006
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it, you know you want to...
"The Flat Earth" and "Screen Kiss" are probably the best pieces of work TMD has produced and alone make this CD worth buying. Read more
Published on 4 Feb 2002 by Paul A. Sidnell
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