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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pre-Dolby Digital, 13 Jan 2004
I first bought this album when I was a boy on vinyl and then the atmospheric nature of this fine piece of work struck a chord immediately. TD went straight for the eccentric angle and pulled it off with some style and room to spare. Now re-issued with one track missing (Wreck Of The Fairchild) and two new ones added (One Of Our Submarines and She Blinded Me With Science) and the playlist jumbled up a bit very little has distracted this from the promising debut. Airwaves is a towering ballad that used to fade into Radio Silence on the original - and somehow the pops and crackles of the vinyl used to contribute to the listening experience rather than distract - Weightless is an all-time classic and in direct contrast to the tight pop of Commercial Breakup. Europa and the Pirate Twins - so long a favourite of mine now sounds dated but this is a small price to pay for the mans genius. Finally Clouburst at Shingle Street is just plain mad, finishing in a raucous operetta meets heavy drumming and just leaves you reaching for the repeat button.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dolby's Lost Gem, 11 Oct 2001
By A Customer
Bored Retro-ists searching for new points of 80's inspiration should give this a whirl, the relic of Dolby's great lost career. In the 90's he went all California and disintegrated into flippant, irritating anglo-pop, but for years this album was as interesting and as durable as anything before or since, and still sounds good.
What Dolby pulled off was to make the routine tools of the day - long discarded Simmons drums, analogue synths, white noise handclaps - somehow gel together into timeless and dramatic creations. Like Bjork today he met the future before it had happened and commanded it rather than followed it - even the poppier tracks (Science, Europa) have this sort of surreal substance, with an atmosphere and poignancy that contemporaries never matched.
Even the sleeve art had a pleasing sense of dotty detail and thoroughness, with Dolby coming across like a well-travelled Victorian anthropologist beamed onto a C20 "floor of a Pan Am lounge". At the time, it was a bizarre concept to blend modern with retro, when eneryone else was only just unpacking their brand new Roland synths.
Airwaves hinted at a gifted balladeer, but to me the best tracks are the 4 extraordinary and unique pieces Windpower, Weightless, Flying North and Shingle Street. These desolate, strange pieces seem tied to a kind of historical melancholy and loneliness, with weird English reference points, unbelievable sounds and textures (espec. for 1982), avant garde clusters and tonalities - and incidentally for any Dolby fan who still hasn't visited Shingle Street itself then some interesting surprises await you.
Dolby's name is so naff these days that I never hear him get a mention; but it's clear that many producers must have this record tucked away somewhere. You can trace it through Eno, Dolby, William Orbit, and though later Dolby was an embarrassment as a funkster no-one will ever come close to the awesome bassline behind Windpower.
He was never this good again but then again this is an album which will never lose its impact - a genuine essential purchase.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A defining moment in early 80's synth pop, 24 Oct 2003
By 
Dr. Gary Callon "Gary Callon" (Arbroath, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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I originally bought this album when it was first released and I still regularly play it. This CD is the repackaged version that was originally released to accomodate the massive US hit 'She Blinded Me With Science" and its excellent b-side "One of Our Submarines" and my only gripe is that "Wreck of the Fairchild" has been taken off. This album highlights how good a song writer Dolby was in his younger days and the track 'Airwaves' for me is the pinnacle in his whole career and has stood the test of time. Other tracks such as 'Europa', 'Weightless' and 'Windpower' show Dolby's innovative use of the Fairlight and drum computers. Listen out also for appearances on the album by artists such as Andy Partridge from XTC, Matthew Seligman, Kevin Armstrong and Akiko Yano.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Super Synth Pop Classic, 10 Mar 2000
By 
b.memery@lipa.ac.uk (Widnes, near Liverpool) - See all my reviews
This is fine example of how synthesisers and songs can work together, given a dash of imagination that is Thomas Dolby's own. The key song is Airwaves, which is has a gorgeous melody and strange noises, if this track doesn't hook then Thomas isn't probably for you. Other stand out tracks are Flying North (Thomas's fear of flying), Commercial Breakup, One Of Our Submarines. Ironically, the biggest UK hit from this Europa and the Pirate Twins has not aged as well other songs, the found sounds seeming a bit forced upon a decent song. Cloudburst At Shingle Street is another classic and closes a superb CD.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Golden age came later.., 3 Mar 2008
By 
andy "andy" (Cornwall, England UK) - See all my reviews
This album contains some fine songs, and there is a real diversity of sound here, which for an early electronic style music effort, is astonishing.
The best track on the album is Commercial Break Up, which sounds so alive with feeling, its incredible that its electronic based, especially for that era.
There are other standout tracks, as follows;
Airwaves; which blends subtlety and feeling to create a master ballad;
Cloudburst at Shingle Street, which evokes a feeling of quiet power from its just plain weirdness;
and of course, the great Wind Power, one of Dolby's best tracks ever.
The other tracks here are pure quality also, and the songwriting structure shines through.
A few things, however, mar this release for me.
One is, this release has two 'extra' tracks; She Blnded me with Science, a huge hit, and One Of Our Submarines, which were both not on the original release.
The reason for including these, especially Science is obvious, it was a massive hit.
BUT, what this means is, that the track The Wreck Of the Fairchild, a brilliant part intstrumental, is missing from this CD, and also the track order has been messed around with.
On the original album the songs follwed a much more pleasant order, and there was a logicality to their placement, which meant that some tracks ran into each other slightly. For example, The Wreck Of the Fairchild segues into Airwaves, and then Airwaves leads nicely into Radio Silence, which then leads into Cloudburst...
It makes SENSE when you hear the original track order and tiny bits which have been omitted from the CD.
The CD runnning order spoils it a tad.
Another is that, despite it being way ahead of its time, this album still sounds a little dated here and there which jars a bit, especially She Blinded Me With Science, and One Of Our Submarines, ironically the two extra tracks...!
I would like to hear modern properly executed remixes of these and other songs to bring out the flavour of the songs a bit more.
Contrary to what other reviewers have wrongly said here, Dolby's greatest heights were yet to come, with the excellent The Flat Earth and the very funky Aliens Ate My Buick, where he showed great diversity in sound, mixing funk with amazingly beautiful songs like Budapest By Blimp, a song with a serious message that shoed the late 80's samplers exactly what sampling should be all about..
The tracks from his later soundtrack Gate To The Mind's Eye, produced his best ever song, the little known Valley of The Mind's Eye, which should have been his biggest hit.
With Thomas Dolby now back in the studio making new stuff, i am sure we will hear his talents again soon.
The Golden Age Of Wireless is an amazing debut, but not the best....I hope they will re-release this with the original track order with perhaps some extra tracks remixed at the end. That would be worth buying, but if you can, find an early vinyl copy of the original album and a best of Cd for the two 'extra tracks' which are certain to be on it, and enjoy this album as it was meant to be listened to.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Electronic pioneer, 17 Mar 2008
By 
D. J. H. Thorn "davethorn13" (Hull, UK) - See all my reviews
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Amid the welter of early 1980s synth pop, Thomas Dolby's debut album stands as one of the few genuinely high-quality examples. Dolby had played keyboards on Bruce Woolley's 'English Garden' album, where he had little more than a back-up role. Here, he stretches out, making imaginative use of the resources available to him, while embracing the availablity of other instruments. Projecting an image of an eccentric boffin, it isn't surprising that most of the material features science and technology related themes.

The hit 'Windpower' typifies Dolby's approach, utilising a range of electronic sounds rather than a straightforward synth riff. It makes for a set of varied and dramatic tracks, each one distinct, yet Dolby also shows a flair for melody, particularly on 'Airwaves' and 'Weightless.'
'She Blinded Me With Science' was the biggest hit, its profile raised by a contribution from TV celebrity, Dr Magnus Pyke. This is rather obviously beaty hit material. It's probably also the least interesting track. The apocalyptic mood of 'Flying North,' the uncanny 'One Of Our Submarines' and the strange 'Cloudburst...' all boast a great atmosphere while 'Weightless' contains some spine-tingling moments. There's a lot going on throughout this album.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Before Its Time, 30 Jan 2000
By A Customer
This cd was one of the very first i bought,and i wasnt disappointed.Dolby really was at the cutting edge of synthersizer pop. From the opening track "She blinded me with science"with the irrepressible Magnus Pike IN THE VIDEO,i knew that this album would stand the test of time. Flying north is a classic in its own right& Weightless well what can you say. We then come to Europa the story of a love affair which started at a very young age & was later re-written for the Astronauts album.
However my own personal favorite is Cloudburst.Its as if youve got two songs going on in one. This album really is worth listening too even now.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ahead of it's time, groundbreaking, 19 Oct 2013
Considering this was written and recorded during the new-romantic synth boom it has dated far better than a lot of other synth laden material. Although heavily atmospheric and electronic Dolby wasn't afraid to include guitars and other instruments and the songwriting reflects a lot more maturity than many 'synth' artists of the time. He probably could have milked this sound and made a fortune but decided to constantly change direction throughout his career. This was truly groundbreaking in terms of production but also demonstrates Dolby's skill as a songwriter.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great classic album, 29 July 2013
By 
Mr. N. Montgomery (Hampshire, England) - See all my reviews
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Extra tracks are a nice add-on but the main album itself with the digital remaster is great . Been meaning to add to my collection for ages and at this price, it was a no-brainer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Georgeous, just like Autumn., 10 Oct 2012
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When you get past science, there is a magnificent jewel of beauty here.
Debut's like this and of this musical and technical skill, are very unique and rare.
I first bought this album in 1988 when i saw it in knights record shop, botanic avenue, belfast, i-d
always meant to buy it well before then!, but i still have the lp with the date written inside it, i bought it may 88, it has always reminded me of autumn, perhaps because of the beautiful haunting melodys and meaningfullness, air waves as an example.
Timeless zietgiest for a very creative skilled man! Who also married kirby from dynasty!.
Wish i had married him. Then i could have peeked his very private fairlight! Lol.
Susan Faust
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