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It has been some time since the last album of BLACK TAPE FOR A BLUE GIRL and so it is great, that a MCD breaks the silence until a new album will be out later in 2004. Do I have to mention, that I really, really love this band for many years? They are one of the most outstanding Dark Wave/Heavenly Voices acts from the US of A ever and this actual MCD is something very special. Beside the usual, beautiful artwork, it is a wonderful surprise, that this release is mostly a collaboration of BLACK TAPE FOR A BLUE GIRL and the great band Audra. Audra´s singer Bret Helm sings on two tracks of the CD and his brother Bart plays the guitar in one song. The title track "Tarnished (Single Mix)" is suprisingly really dark and close to Gothic (Rock). It is nice, to see (better: hear), that BLACK TAPE FOR A BLUE GIRL don´t deny their roots, even, if they changed their style through the years. "Tarnished“ is a great song, which surely will also be a great one live on stage. "Remnants Of A Deeper Purity (2004)“ is a re-recording by the Helm´s of this song from the 1996 album of the same name with Bret´s vocals again. It is mostly an acoustic version of the track and gets a darker atmosphere again, because of the singing. Great to hear, how a song can develop from some kind of a (Neo-) Folk-Song to an acoustic Wave-Ballad. Finally you find "Damn Swan!“ on this short CD, a more typical BLACK TAPE-Song with fairy-like female vocals . "Tarnished“ really makes me curious, if the whole album will be "back to the roots“ or if it is an unususal song on the forthcoming album Halo Star. Until the release, "Tarnished“ is a „must have“ for both, BLACK TAPE FOR A BLUE GIRL - and Audra-Fans. Real beauty in darkness! (A.P.)
Tarnished is the new single from the album HALO STAR by Black Tape for a Blue Girl, a long-standing act in the underground goth scene. Here, the band finds itself returning to its roots somewhat while still marching ahead and honing its sound. Male vocals have returned to the scene after a long stretch without them, as well. Tribal beats undergird floating ambient melodies to create a drifting, flowing river of dark but hauntingly beautiful tones sure to capture the listener in its siren call. Classic gothic vocals that avoid the pretentions of many wannabe goth acts bring the melancholy message to your ears. Black Tape for a Blue Girl is not industrial goth or metal goth or whatever. It's just pure, shadowy emotional music for when your body is lethargic but your mind is out searching in the ether ... Also included on the three-song single are "Remnants of a Deeper Purity" and "Damn Swan!"- Kristofer Upjohn
The title track takes us back to the earlier years of Black Tape when we were presented with tracks like "Across a Thousand Blades" where the music moves through a wave of percussion and driving layered instruments. The inclusion of Bret Helm on vocals adds to the ferocity of this track with his deep vocals resonating sharply. Since I've been a fan of this group over many years, it's taken me time to adjust from the smooth, spanish tenor of Oscar Herrera to Bret's harsher, deep vocals, but with this track I think they've managed to find a very nice match.
From my favorite past album they've resurrected the title track "Remnants of a Deeper Purity" and re-recorded it with Bret on vocals in a different key. Lisa's flute adds a smooth and dreamy feeling to this incredible and classic recording. The addition of percussion is also a nice treat as I've always thought this track was quite moving but lacked a beat to drive it home, but have always loved it nonetheless. Finally we're brought to the real gem of this release, "Damn Swan". Elysabeth Grant has managed to portray her siren-like vocals once again in this masterpiece. Of course I can't fail to mention the compositions and electronics all provided by the mastermind behind this group Sam Rosenthal. Other credits obviously go to Michael Laird and Vickie Richards for their contributions which I've failed to mention until now, and I realize the contribute quite a bit of what makes these songs so incredible. These three tracks are an excellent look into the future as we hope for 10 or more tracks like these to be included on the new album. But the exclusive nature of this single is enough to recommend picking it up rather than just waiting for the album, it's well worth it. Rating: 5/5
Black Tape for a Blue Girl is back with a single release as a appetizer for the HALO STARalbum, scheduled release in august 2004. The single contains three tracks. ‘Tarnished’ is a track with a striking and fascinating way of singing, with Oriental and Celtic influences added. The percussion is exciting, and a variety of instruments is being used. ‘Remnants of a Deeper Purity’ is a tranquil song which very well reflects a feeling of longing and remembrance. This is a remake of the title track of the 1996 album. Again the percussion is notable in this track. The music in general has a nice deal of world music influences. ‘Damn Swan!’ is a ethereal song dominated by female vocals. This is a very nice single which makes us curious to hear the upcoming HALO STAR album. Rating: 8/10 -Teknoir
I daresay those of you who like your music mysterious in richly tantalising ways will already have your coy of The Scavenger Bride, the extraordinary 2002 album by Black Tape For a Blue Girl, which was a stunning work of diseased picturesque brilliance, that creaked with meticulous detail and crafty old sounds. The new album, HALO STAR, from which this single is a taster, may surprise you a lot.
It is still not conventional but windows have been flung wide, letting the air in, and all gauzy curtains have been binned. There’s not much sunlight visible, because it appears to be dark everywhere, but the layering has been avoided. Things are clearer, more direct. Ostensibly detailing the importance as a character central to the album’s tale of a fallen idol this ‘Tarnished’ track is up, as ‘Damn Swan!’ will be down, but it’s just as intriguing and demanding as the Bride album. You’d imagine I might be talking of some jolly romps if the ‘difficult’ sounds are absent, but this is still disturbing music. Pinched strings slither beneath the strong vocal narrative given by Bret Audra, and the percussion is knottily abrasive, providing a sense of hovering horror. It’s like travelling a moving walkway, flanked on either side by gruesome Goyas.
‘Remnants Of A Deeper Purity’, in which Bret appears to have no nostrils, actually is a straightforward tale of some lost, enigmatic woman, details of which come back to haunt the sedate protagonist. Pretty, but inconsequential. ‘Damn Swan!’ is prettier by far, with Elsyabeth Grant’s voice stretching out over a slowly distended bass line, and it’s off-centre enough as a piece to keep you guessing what this involves.
The collective vision of such musicians should guarantee recorded magic, as well as your interest, and the album (Aug 31 release date) is special, I’ll tell you that much. It’s on a par with The Scavenger Bride, but entirely different, in most ways, which was the intention after all.
| 4 of 5 Stars | Black Tape for a Blue Girl, originally conceived as a philosophic voice for founder, Sam Rosenthal, then evolving to become a powerful medium for deep psychological explorations, is perhaps the premier musical force of our time. Few bands can capture the spaces created by emptiness better than Rosenthal's vehicle of the human condition. With this preview of Black Tape's upcoming album, Halo Star, we get 2 extraordinary cuts. The first, "Tarnished", is a single mix and is a taste of what the album version will become. "Tarnished" is a strong and cutting buzzsaw of a song that pushes forcefully into the psyche of our thoughts and does so with a driving rhythm that underscores the ferocity of the track. Added is a 2004 remix of "Remnants of a Deeper Purity", an unreleased update of an older song that is liquid in its delivery. Feuer's flute creates a raindrop of beauty with its sadly weeping essence that fills the song like a spirit. With spare guitar and unfettered vocals, "Remnants..." is a song of memory that is sweet and beautiful. This CD Single is finalized by another song from the new album, "Damn Swan!" This album cut is ethereal in the inimitable Black Tape style. With haunting vocals and spare instrumentation, "Damn Swan!" relies on Black Tape's signature sound to effect the mood that is like a swirling air of angelic vibrations. Again, sad but deliciously so.
Tarnished is an excellent indicator of what Halo Star will gift us with an added bonus song. And while Black Tape's musical paths are not for the mainstream, they are essential to the philosophical music lover. - Matt Rowe