The first track I ever heard from Mr Dolby was "Windpower" on Top of The Pops, with all the foppish hair, big glasses and a lot running around (Thomas, not me!). I was hooked and rushed out to buy "The Golden Age Of Wireless" on cassette, which was the original UK track-listing without "Science", but with the moody "Fairchild" (the version soon to be reissued as a remastered collector's edition). It took a few listens but the variety of musical styles and clever lyrics/melodies weaved their way into my head very effectively. "Flat Earth" was also really good, although a move towards something more funky and, dare I say it, mainstream. After quite a gap "Buick" appeared, and apart from "Pulp Culture" (which I loved and still do) it was a wee bit too American for my taste, with all the flashy band members etc. However "Astronauts" seemed more of a singular affair, including some good singles the classic album tracks "Cruel" and "Neon Sisters" (which is very dark and a bit of a slow-burner).
So another singles collection appears on the shelves, but this time remastered with Mr Dolby 'in attendance'. Checkig out his website I think he is pretty happy with the mastering, but I am slightly surprised at his choice of cover artwork - quirky, to say the least!
Inside the box are two discs that immediately justify their existance though. The earlier material in particular is so bright and clear after mastering, yet the sound is consistent throughout all the material. This is almost a definitive singles collection (no "Get Out Of My Mix", thank goodness) complete with the classic too-good-to-be-a b-side "Submarines" and his collaboration with R Sakamoto "Field Work". Then we have nearly every track on the DVD, most of the videos having been cleaned up pretty well considering the age of the earliest ones, plus 2 extended version videos and the raunchier "Hot Sauce" (the one with the original scenes rather than the inserted picture of the Queen Mum). The bonuses don't add a great deal to the set, but it's nice to have them all there. Again, great sound quality and no synching problems (unlike the recent Ultravox "Best Of" DVD, which still slips a bit in places).
The concert "Sole Inhabitant" DVD/CD recently released generally is also a must-have for any fan, as Thomas goes back to his electronic roots, but on-stage, with some interesting dialogue and insights into his tracks. Roll on the remasters of "Wireless" and "Flat Earth", and some new material maybe!?