Black Tape For A Blue Girl — „Ashes In The Brittle Air“ [Remastered And Expanded Edition] (Feb. 28, 2020)
Location: Portland, Oregon
Genre: Electronic, Neo~Classical, Darkwave
Album release: Aug. 9, 1989/Feb. 28, 2020
Record Label: Metropolis Records
Duration: 43:36+61:14 = 104:50
01. Ashes in the Brittle Air 4:04
02. Across a Thousand Blades 3:42
03. The Touch and the Darkness 2:58
04. Through Sky Blue Rooms 1:37
05. The Scar of a Poet 7:30
06. You Tangle Within Me 4:28
07. From the Tightrope 5:13
08. Am I So Deceived 5:13
09. Is It Love That Dare Not Be? 2:19
10. I Ran to You 3:30
11. I Wish You Could Smile 3:02
01. Let the Rain Fall 7:58
02. Milan 3:05
03. The Sound of Waves 4:00
04. I’m Spinning 3:27
05. Griffith Park 3:19
06. Ashes In The Brittle Air (Acapella) 1:30
07. I’m Spinning (Demo) 3:28
08. The Amber Girl (Throug sky blue rooms early version) 3:35
09. Through Sky Blue Rooms (alt. v. — in between mix) 1:47
10. Through Sky Blue Rooms (alternate version) 1:50
11. Ashes In The Brittle Air (Demo) 2:00
12. We Return 3:06
14. The Scar of a Poet (Demo) 2:42
15. From the Tightrope (Demo) 4:23
18. Across a Thousand Blades (“with trumpets” — late 1987 Demo) 4:43
19. Across a Thousand Blad (8~11~1988 Demo) 3:53
20. Across a Thousand Blad (Aacapella) 2:30
21. Across a Thousand Blad (2020 mix) 3:51
•→ Oscar Herrera • vocals
•→ Danielle Herrera • vocals
•→ Brian Viglione • drums
•→ Sam Rosenthal • electronics, acoustic guitar
REMASTERED expanded edition
• Remastered from original 1/4” tapes
• 21 bonus tracks: demos, acapella versions, plus 6 completely finished songs that have never been heard before.
• “Across a thousand blades” has a new 2020 mix using original sources.
→ Black tape for a blue girl’s 1989 third album in an expanded edition. It’s been remastered from the original 1/4~inch analog tapes and sounds amazing! The vocals are so much more present, the instruments are clear, yet the album retains that dreamy, romantic quality you remember from the 80s.
→ ASHES contained angst and trepidation in the lyrics yet also beauty and hopeful melancholia in the mood and music. It’s an album of existential, ethereal, and gothic musings. ASHES was the release that brought the band out of the fanzine~based underground to listeners of what in the 80s we called “college radio.” “Across a thousand blades” on CMJ’s CERTAIN DAMAGE compilation CD went to stations across the country and garnered regular airplay. In fact, many of you have mentioned that ASHES was your first exposure to Black tape for a blue girl.
→ It’s remarkable for me to fathom it now — I was just 22 years old in 1987 when I began writing and recording ASHES IN THE BRITTLE AIR. Pretty impressive to think back on that, 30 years later. The album sounds like the work of a more mature artist, and at the same time what I wrote is just as idealistic about love as you’d expect from a young guy like that.
→ As I wrote in the original album description: “Bursting forth like a lucid dream, this release unearths powerful connections to deeper truths. Sue~Kenny’s folk approach and Oscar’s intense voice guide the way through Sam’s tales of existential personal introspection.”
→ The core of this release is the remastered 11~track album, a gem of 4AD~inspired ethereal art rock. This was the late 80s. The Cocteau Twins recently released Blue Bell Knoll, Dead Can Dance released the brilliant The Serpent’s Egg, and I created this brooding album with a dark, emotional approach. I remember back in the day, some listeners found ASHES schizophrenic with all the styles and vocalists. The variety made total sense to me — I was a big fan of Ivo Watts~Russell’s This Mortal Coil and Brian Eno’s ANOTHER GREEN WORLD. Like these other non~musicians, I gathered talented artists around me to create the sounds I wanted to hear.
→ Hi. Black Tape For A Blue Girl’s 1989 third album ASHES IN THE BRITTLE AIR is now available in a deluxe edition remastered from the original 1/4” tapes. The remaster is warm and clear, and the album retains that dreamy, romantic quality you remember from the 80s.
→ Alternative Press: “This is hurting, romantic lament. Herrera’s vocals suddenly ram me with image~brimming, griping vacancy of the precariously desperate soul hanging beneath hope by a frayed thread.”
→ Oscar sizzles with dramatic and passionate vocals. Sue~Kenny Smith’s voice brings a softer, sensitive & spontaneous English~folk quality to the album. Mixing Sue with my electronics and ambience — and Oscar’s vocals — created a diverse collection of songs that arrived at just the right moment. There wasn’t really anyone else in America doing this ethereal style.
→ ASHES was the first BlackTape released on CD; the improved sonic quality of the medium over the previous two LPs really benefited the music. With this expanded rerelease, my mastering guy went back and worked from the original quarter~inch mixdown tapes. In 1989, I thought the original sounded great, but this new mastering sounds amazing! There is so much subtle detail now, everything feels warmer and more present. I really love it! I added six completed tracks (on the second disc) from that era — something special for the album’s fans. There’s no way I can go back in time and write more pieces in this exact style. These tracks are completed songs I never released for artist~angst reasons; they make a wonderful addition to the album. Also included are a bunch of demos and early mixes to round out the 21 bonus tracks.
→ Disc 1 contains the remastered 11~track 1989 album. Disc 2 contains demos plus six songs that have never been heard before: tracks from “the first version” of ASHES. There’s a lengthy backstory about how those songs evolved, my stressing about it, and cutting them from the album. The tracks remained in my archive, unmixed, all these years. With modern equipment, THE SOUND OF WAVES ep (the first 5 tracks on disc 2) finally sounds the way I had hoped back in ’88. There’s a total of 21 bonus tracks on the 2nd CD & download (including demos, acapella versions). “Across a thousand blades” has a new 2020 mix on disc 2, using only original sources.)
→ Option Magazine: “We’re talking deep European existential despair here, the fevered outpouring of a tortured soul.”
• Remastered from original 1/4” tapes.
• 21 bonus tracks on the 2nd CD: demos, acapella versions, includes 6 completely finished songs from back in the day that have never been heard before.
• “Across a thousand blades” has a new 2020 mix on Disc 2 using original sources. CD+LP version is the original mix, of course.
There’s also a limited edition “Aska i den skor luften” journal.
→ This was my 12th Kickstarter; it’s the way I fund my albums in the modern version of the music industry. Crowdfunding is a wonderful connection I make with people who love the art I create. I meet more and more fans from back~in~the~day this way; I enjoy chatting with you and hearing your experiences with my music. So often, I’m told that my albums were there for you at a tough time in life. A breakup, a death, a personal crisis; it’s very rewarding to know that the sounds I created for my own emotional reasons were helpful when you needed them.