Black Tape For A Blue Girl
These Fleeting Moments
(Metropolis Records / Projekt)
After a lengthy campaign of crowdfunding, the first release since 2010’s Ten Neurotics has finally released from one of the Goth/darkwave scene’s most prominent acts. Originally formed in 1986, Sam Rosenthal’s long-running troupe have been known for some of the most respected albums in the darkwave scene, like Remnants of a Deeper Purity and The Scavenger Bride among myriads of others. Black Tape For A Blue Girl hopes to bring back the classic darkwave ambience nearly missing from their previous couple of albums to form here and after having soaked this recording in a little more, I can indeed say that they’ve done just that. For starters, this record is seventy minutes long which leaves plenty of room for atmosphere – and that’s just what we’re getting. As a matter of fact, the record opens up with an immense piece by the name of “The Vastness Of Life” which literally sits us back into the band’s golden age. It’s as if the modern albums never even happened. Such a track simply demands your patience, so don’t expect to rush through it, or to soak in everything from your first listen. If you have a short attention span, you might want to do some meditation or suchlike in order to calm your racing mind so that you can truly sit down with this piece and give it what it deserves.
The record is extremely immersive, as such tracks like “six thirteen” and “meditation on the skeleton” prove to be much more than some of the Goth romps that we get with “Limitless,” “One Promised Love” and closer “You’re Inside Me.” Though as I continue my listen, I find that there are a couple of songs sandwiched in here that contain more unexpected moments, like the shoegaze rock of “She Ran So Far Away” and the Dead Can Dance flavor of “Desert Rat-Kangaroo” which seem to create a great deal of diversity on the recording – a diversity that I never saw coming. It is here where I should mention that the disc was preceeded with an EP by the name of The Bike Shop. Suffice it to say, I thought the EP was rather boring and almost felt a bit emo to me, which had me a bit worried for the final release. Yet soon after I noticed that These Fleeting Moments was indeed such a diverse album, “Bike Shop – Absolute Zero” actually managed to fit in quite snug with the rest of the material on the disc. The song in general is nothing exquisite, as it is merely a playful little song about a personal relationship and a bike shop, but not everything here can be as ethereal as “Affinity” or as Cure-influenced as “One Promised Love.” I’ll also add that I never expected to hear a guitar solo appear in the folk-influenced instrumental “Zug Koln.” It feels like there’s something here for nearly every fan of the darkwave, gothic or ethereal genres, which is definitely the best thing they could have done with this recording.
That being said, please keep in mind that of the thirteen pieces featured on the recording, several of them contain absolutely no vocalizations at all and what I’ve said in the beginning of this review still applies. For example, deep within the core of the recording there lies a twenty-minute section in which one will observe several types of meditation. Here we have much of what Projekt consists of today, with Erik Wollo himself even playing a part on “Zug Koln.” The record is actually composed of four parts, and also features a few other guest performers aside from the main band. Black Tape For A Blue Girl have had several notable lineup changes in the past, but as of right now the act consists of Rosenthal composing the majority of the instrumentation apart from Nick Shadow on viola and Brian Viglione on drums. The vocals are handled here by the band’s legendary frontman Oscar Herrera, who notably performed on the act’s first seven albums. Danielle Herrera also appears as the female vocalist, showing her strength on pieces like “She’s Gone” and of course, “Affinity” by which I’m nearly reminded of Nicki Jaine. Yes, folks – this is the return to form by which we’ve been expecting. All of the time waiting and all of the money that you spent funding this recording was worth it entirely.
Providing extra support on the record is Chase Dobson, who handles the electric and bass (he’s responsible for the solo I mentioned earlier) as well as Michael Plaster who appears on “Bike Shop – Absolute Zero” as the primary vocalist. We also have Mark Seelig on basuri flutes for “Meditation On The Skeleton” a piece that definitely takes from the very best of Dead Can Dance. There is so much that I could say about this album, but it’s best that you experience it for yourself. Look at this review as a guidepost, what you can expect from your purchase – but please, do not take this as a complete summary of a work that requires so much further examination, like one of Crowley’s books or Alan Moore’s graphic novels. This is the kind of sit-down record that requires a great deal of focus, and you should literally sit down and focus on it. It’s the kind of record that you play after the day’s activities have more or less concluded, and is recommended for a time of contemplative reflection. It may very well be one of Black Tape For A Blue Girl’s most ethereal releases, but it certainly reflects a growing sense of maturity, as well as a greater sense of purpose for the band, their music, and the myriad of messages behind it.