The new release, titled Highlights, is available for digital download from Projekt Records on Bandcamp. This is a name-your-price (including free) release. Of course the right thing to do is pay something if you can.
From the album’s description:
Ethereal, evocative, powerful and introspective, Black Tape For A Blue Girl’s recent studio albums expand upon the sweeping darkwave / art rock aesthetic they’ve developed over the past 34 years. Their eclectic, modernist approach refreshes BlackTape’s pioneering musical sentiments while maintaining the unique originality of their sound.
HIGHLIGHTS collects 10-tracks in a 50 minute overview of their last four years, ranging from ethereal dream pop to brooding darkwave, to atmospheric ambient drone. Three non-album cuts include a re-recording of 1989’s “Through sky blue rooms,” while on the 2020 exclusive-to-this-collection version of 1987’s “Scream, my shallow” vocalist Danielle Herrera recreates this harrowing story of obsession and denial.
The nice folks at Spotted Peccary Music have released their latest ambient electronic sampler, and you can get it for pay-what-you-want or free over at Bandcamp. Yes, truly free. But if you can, you should really pay them at least something – and there are benefits to doing so. I paid for mine, it’s the right way to go. 61 minutes of musical goodness released in the past year, go for it!
Sometimes, when you mix two things together, you wind up with something greater than the sum of the parts. Here is a great musical example of this process. Start with a short, sweet song written by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape For A Blue Girl. Now combine it with Love Spirals Downwards’ Suzanne Perry’s lush vocals and Ryan Lum’s guitar, and you get a version of the song that either gives me chills or brings tears to my eyes – or sometimes both.
Oh, and how about some free music?
As I was preparing this post, completely coincidentally, Projekt Records has released the album this song is taken from as a name-your-price (including free) digital release on Bandcamp. The album, of these reminders, is 2-CD tribute to early Black Tape For A blue Girl music. You should definitely get it, and yes you should definitely pay at least something for it. We need to support the artists. I do.
Sam’s 1984 album of minimal-synth / synthwave is #free on Bandcamp for a limited time.
Originally released on vinyl in March 1984, Tanzmusik is one of minimal synth’s top Holy Grails. Recorded in the electronic style now known as synthwave, it was the first LP from Sam Rosenthal, founder of the iconic Projekt Records label and mind behind one of the most influential darkwave acts out of the US, Black Tape For A Blue Girl.
A historic work that deserves to be torn from oblivion, Tanzmusik was completely recorded at home on a four-track TEAC-2340 with a super minimal setup (Korg Poly-61, Moog Realistic Concertmate MG-1, Boss Dr-110 and some effects). The ’84 vinyl release was limited to 250 copies with a tannish card glued to a white LP jacket; the re-release in 2012 was an edition of 500 on Italy’s Mannequin label. All physical formats are once again sold out, but the album lives on in the digital world, with a name-your-price-download at Bandcamp.
In 2012, The Big Takeover wrote: “Released at a time shortly before the forming of his band, Black Tape for a Blue Girl, the listener might well be stunned by what they hear. Instead of the dark — some may call it ‘goth’ — sounds that he would soon become famous for, Tanzmusik is a record that is oddly upbeat, somewhat poppy in nature, yet with a prog-rock heart that’s equally undeniable. It’s not quite New Wave, it’s not quite progressive, it’s not quite darkwave — but it is an interesting compilation of the ideas of a talented young man with numerous ideas in his head about directions he could go. “
Recorded when Sam was 19, the album continued in the “electronic mood-music” tradition established on three earlier cassette-only releases. With the added intrigues of the drum-computer, Tanzmusik explored the realms of electronic music that critics at the time compared to Tangerine Dream, O.M.D., Brian Eno and these days also compare to Cluster and the first Human League.
Sam writes, “When contacted about a re-issue in 2010 by Alessandro Adriani at Mannequin, I decided to remaster the album for them. After getting the digitized recordings back from my mastering guy in Canada, I discovered it wasn’t the stereo 2-track mix at all but the actual 4-track recording. Wow! I thought the multis were long gone, but here they were in pristine digital form! I remixed the album in my studio, staying true to the original – while bringing back a few instruments that were buried in the ’84 mix. Sonically, the current version sounds even more incredible than it did back in 1984!”
“Before I remixed the album, I had not listened to it in probably 15 years. In my memories of the album, I thought the ambient songs were the good ones, and the synth-pop ones were the weak link. But now I think I like the synth-pop ones — like “Alone” and “We Return” — more. On the other hand, I really like that sequencer at the beginning of “The Coming Fall.” If my Korg Poly-61 wasn’t dead, I would set up that patch again and write something new around it; I still have all the notes for my synth settings for the songs. Scary. Overall, I am a lot happier with the album than I expected to be. When Alessandro got in touch with me about releasing it, I was sort of skeptical, and procrastinated a whole bunch. But when I started actually working on it, I liked it. It’s quite a nice album. Schizophrenic, but that’s OK.”
Sam Rosenthal is an American artist. He is the founder and leader of the band Black Tape For a Blue Girl and the record label Projekt Records (35th anniversary in 2018). He lives in Portland Oregon with his son and cat. Black Tape For a Blue Girl — begun in 1986 after his move from Florida to California — serves as a vehicle for Rosenthal’s musical vision. Its signature combination of gothic, ethereal, ambient and neo-classical elements explores existential themes of loves lost and passions yet to come. After releasing 9 cassettes and the LP of his early electronic work prior to 1986, he developed a full-fledged band whose members revolve around Rosenthal’s subtle electronic foundation. In the last few years he has also been releasing electronic solo work under the names As Lonely As Dave Bowman and Sam Rosenthal, as well as collaborations with other artists.
ClickHere for the history of Projekt’s out-of-print releases, and Sam’s early electronic releases.
Projekt Records has released a new, free, music sampler. The Projekt Spring 2019 sampler is almost two hours long and can be downloaded for free through bandcamp.com. Yes, it really is free, but anything you choose to pay is greatly appreciated — 14 tracks (all of which can be previewed), 10 artists — yes, it is definitely worth ponying up a couple bucks at least. I am not affiliated with Projekt, I just love what they do and support them as much as I can.
Don’t forget, bandcamp.com is a great place to find new music and support the artists. You can check out my bandcamp profile of purchases and wish list here.
Who is up for some more free music? Over at Bandcamp, Spotted Peccary Music has released Ambient Electronic Sampler 31. This sampler, 70 minutes long, can be downloaded at name your own price, including free. Why not check it out?
Followers of my blog know what a fan I am of Bandcamp, where artists can share and sell their music. As of the date of this blog post, the Bandcamp web site says: Fans have paid artists $264 million using Bandcamp, and $6.4 million in the last 30 days alone. Bandcamp is the place where you can help artists make a living creating the music you love to listen to.
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