Music Monday: A Nod to the Innovators: Gabriel/Dolby

Posted by Drake, January 23, 2012
Peter Gabriel

While it’s always risky to point at just a few artists and call them ‘innovators’, we can maybe put it into context first.

These days, we enjoy the Dan Deacon’s, Washed Out’s and Neon Indian’s of the world. Male. Solo. And somewhat quirky artists.


But how did we get here?

How did we get to a point where a so-called ‘bedroom producer’ can stroll out and command a live audience?

I think we should take a moment, and nod towards two gentlemen who brought ‘nerds’ to the forefront of electronic, pop music.

Peter Gabriel was never one for predictability. While fronting prog-legends Genesis, Gabriel was widely known for his outlandish stage presence and, out there lyrics. However, when he went solo and picked up a few synthesizers, he took electronic music and the so-called New Wave to another level. No longer reserved for sub-cultures and the underground, Gabriel’s music not only went mainstream, but also carried a message.

While politics was commonplace in punk rock, Gabriel subtly brought it to New Wave and thus – the masses.



Plus, he also made this song.
And the rest is 80s compilation history.

Not to be ignored. Thomas Dolby made his name by experimenting with sounds. And I do mean experimenting. However, with one mainstream hit (see here), Dolby was pushed to the frontlines of pop. Playing with patch cables used to be the world of sound engineers in the back room of studios. It was now on MTV and in living rooms around the world.




So the next time you see a pair of horned-rimmed glasses pounding away on an MPC, or find yourself covered in neon paint with a glow-stick partying with kittens at an art-dance party - take a moment and thank the innovators.

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