Picking up Blacktape’s classic 90s darkwave, ethereal sound; original vocalist Oscar returns on their 30th anniversary.
Given where Black Tape for a Blue Girl began over a quarter of a century ago with founder Sam Rosenthal’s exploration of brooding, extended electronics and strings meshed with deeply revealing lyrics and darkly textured, melodramatic vocal performances, it’s striking to see his muse and inspiration reach a new peak on their 11th album, These Fleeting Moments. The ethereal, gothic and darkAmbient stylings that made them one of the originators of American darkwave are offered on this release which coincides with the band’s 30th anniversary. Rosenthal reinvigorates their classic sound with the return of original vocalist Oscar Herrera, absent from music for 17 years.
The band emerges from the studio with 70 minutes of powerful, gorgeously yearning tracks born from the same place as their 90s classics Remnants of a Deeper Purity and A Chaos of Desire. Sam’s lyrics explore the existential predicaments of time’s passage, choices questioned, and loves lost. Oscar’s darkly dramatic vocals are complemented by Dani Herrera’s emotional and heartfelt voice, Nick Shadow’s visceral viola, Brian Viglione’s (The Dresden Dolls) driving drums, and Rosenthal’s pensive electronics and revelatory songwriting.
Director David Lynch, former pornographic actress Sasha Grey and writer Poppy Z. Brite are some of their more well-known fans.
On their 30th anniversary, Black Tape For A Blue Girl returns to their evocative ethereal, neoclassical, gothic roots with an album exploring the existential predicaments of time’s passage, choices questioned, and loves lost. Original vocalist Oscar Herrera rejoins the band after a 17-year absence. His darkly dramatic vocals are complemented by Dani Herrera’s emotional and heartfelt voice, Nick Shadow’s visceral viola, Brian Viglione’s driving drums, and band-founder Sam Rosenthal’s pensive electronics and revelatory songwriting.
These Fleeting Moments, their 11th studio release, is 70 minutes of powerful, gorgeously yearning tracks born from the same place as their 90s classics Remnants of a Deeper Purity and A Chaos of Desire.
“For this album,” Sam says, “I picked up threads of our 90s sound. I wrote those intense, passionate songs that Oscar delivers so wonderfully. Adding Nick’s breathtaking strings atop my synth-horn and electronic textures, and writing 25 minutes of instrumentals, really brings this album back to the essential Blacktape sound.”
Oscar’s involvement is more than a nostalgic appearance — he sings seven songs. Accompanying Oscar is his daughter Dani, who was not even a year old when the band recorded their 1986 debut, The Rope. Her lead vocals on four tracks bring an absorbing intermingling of voices to this release. At times Dani’s singing carries a youthful, breathy softness, such as on the brokenheartedness of “She’s gone.” “She wasn’t the first girl to dump me, but she dumped me on the phone, and it brought out all these old feelings. Who would love me and just drop me unless I didn’t deserve love. Unless I didn’t deserve love.”
The band boldly opens the album with “The vastness of life,” a 17-minute five-part epic reminiscent of Remnants’ “For you will burn your wings upon the sun.” It’s an expressive track — powerfully solemn, stirringly elegant and evocative — drifting between defiant, resigned and striking vocal sections and floating ambient passages. The lyrics explore the album’s theme: questions about life choices, our personal story, and if we have the courage to live in service to our ideals.
The album’s lyrics range from emotionally wrought to delicately sensitive, detailing fears of revealing the true self, betrayal of one’s body in the hands of a lover’s promises, contemplating our interconnectedness to others, or poking fun at mankind’s belief that we are more important than other animals.
Sam continues, “The fleetingness of time has become part of the questions I am asking. We are finite in our being but infinite in our hopes and longings. Life will pass us in an instant, and I ask myself if I am courageously living my true self in the world? Or are we all a bit hunched over, hiding from the possibilities?”
After three decades recording music and running the Projekt record label, Sam drew upon internationally-acclaimed talent to record the album. Guest musicians include The Dresden Dolls’ drummer Brian Viglione, SoulWhirlingSomewhere’s vocalist Michael Plaster, and electronic solo artists Erik Wøllo and Mark Seelig. Newcomer Chase Dobson adds guitars and bass.
In the catchiest track, the luxuriant “Limitless,” Oscar sings, “I shine, I glow, I venture into the darkness in search of the essential.” Sam’s thought-provoking lyrics invite self-examination without becoming too weighty — the earnest themes explored on the album have a palatable sense of optimism in the face of adversity and are buoyed by the ebb and flow of the band’s superb performances. Indeed, These Fleeting Moments finishes on a high note, a song sung from father to son on the elder’s death bed; even in that, there is the suggestion that a way through can be found by remembering that “the most beautiful moments remain so dear to us.”
The deluxe CD edition and double-lp vinyl edition were funded at Kickstarter. kck.st/1NAqsMO
Thanks so much to all my supporters.
I appreciate all your enthusiasm for my music over the past 30 years.