ashes in the brittle air (2020 remastered expanded edition)

by Black Tape For A Blue Girl

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    You did it! Your support made the ASHES Kickstarter campaign a triumph! I truly value your enthusiasm for the music I've created over the past 36 years. This campaign was all or nothing, and once again your pledges made the difference. No matter how much you gave, you pushed us over that $9000 goal. I thank all 267 of you for that!
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about

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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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.

Option Magazine: “We’re talking deep European existential despair here, the fevered outpouring of a tortured soul.”

credits

released September 27, 1989

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Black Tape For A Blue Girl Portland, Oregon

Black Tape for a Blue Girl is an American Ethereal band formed in 1986 by Projekt Records' founder Sam Rosenthal. Their music takes on elements of darkwave, ethereal, ambient, goth and neoclassical music. Director David Lynch is one of the band's more well-known fans. ... more

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