Archive for the ‘Artists’ Category
This weekend it’s all Black tape for a blue girl over here!
I’ve been designing the digipak + booklet for These fleeting moments. I’m working with the photos I shot this week of Mercy in the bass, the band photos, and the lyrics. It is a process of realizing the ideas that have been drifting around in my thoughts for the last couple of months. Trying design ideas out, keeping them, or rejecting them. Improving, improving…
It’s looking good.
While I work at my computer, I’m listening to the most recent (and almost) final master of the album. It sounds great! Mastering is the final process of bringing the album together sonically. Howard takes my mixes, and adds compression, eq, and other stuff that tightens everything up and pulls the tracks together. The songs are diverse, with different instrumentation, and different vocalists. Now it’s sounding like one session, one band.
I dropped by Stereotypes and listened on very expensive speakers, plus on the three sets of speakers here in my house. We’re almost finished with the mastering!
In this process, I’ve learned about what I like to hear in my music, as far as what colors are important to me. This is a good lesson for working on the next album. Because yes, I’m already thinking about starting the next Blacktape album!
I had to reject the booklet on Remnants of a deeper purity (30th anniversary edition) because the printing was off (seems like not enough black, but the rep at the plant says it was too much yellow and cyan). Either way, argghhhh! They have to throw those 1000 in the trash and reprint; at least they’re paying for it, as they are the ones who messed up. Why don’t they proof things, before they go through the whole process of cutting, stapling, shipping? Oh, for the days of tight quality control. I don’t know if I mentioned I had to throw away the first run of stickers, because they were badly printed (by a different plant). Ugh! The booklet reprint is delaying the album a bit.
But it’s got to be done right! Especially since my patrons at Patreon are helping me pay for it!
I’ve received the vinyl on the BIKE SHOP ep, at long last! If you’re one of the Kickstarter backers, or if you’re curious, check this post. If you want to pre-order a copy, order here at the Projekt website. Do keep in mind that when I launch the Kickstarter for These fleeting moments, BIKE SHOP will be included in the vinyl tier.
As I sit here at the computer for hours, I’m spinning around ideas about what could be in that Kickstarter. If there’s anything Blacktape that you think would be an interesting reward, please suggest it on the Patreon page.
Have a great rest of your weekend, Sam
Image below might be Not Safe For Work, depending on where you work…
This morning, I tried a few more tests of Mercy in the bass (for the cover of These fleeting moments). I’ve been doing tests along the way (as I modify the bass) because I want to be really ready for the shoot. I work without a crew and I find I often miss things on set. I do a good job technically (focus, lighting, angles), but find that leads me to under-focus on the form of the body: arranging the shot. That’s why we’re practicing now, so I will be less worried about the bass, and more aware of the overall.
Even though Mercy (quite proudly) fits inside, This weekend I plan to cut the bass at the bottom to give her a few more inches of room.
I’ve never worked with an object on a cover (I did, years ago in college, on videos). So this has been a pretty fun experience.
Also, Harley wanted in on the act. Naturally. Cats! : )
Today’s post to you is brought to you by circular saw
On Tuesday, I sent the mixes of These fleeting moments to Howard, my mastering guy. That followed a weekend of driving myself a bit batty, finding small changes that seemed urgently necessary (“Is the first half of that word a db too loud? Could the drums go up .3 db in the instrumental section?”) It’s the sort of obsessive stuff that loops in my brain right at the end of the mix. But you know what? The album sounds amazing! So much good stuff, I cannot wait for the world to hear it.
The album has a May 5 deadline to meet the release date for the distributor. That means in the next few weeks I will shoot the cover photo and design the packaging. Next week, I will shoot a photo of Grace for the booklet. In 10 days I will shoot the cover photos (I am still searching for a location). Right after that, I fly to NYC to photograph Brian for the booklet. And I have to do the graphic design as well.
I just came in from the yard, and dusted myself off after making the first “modification” to the bass. I cut it open; next I will check if Mercy fits inside as is. I think I will need to do some work to make it wider, but maybe she’s petite enough?
As I was setting up the scraps for the third photo, I got a great idea for the top premium on the Kickstarter for the Deluxe CD. I’ll make a few Joseph Cornell Box-like boxes using pieces of the bass, outtake photographs, and other bits that fit the mood. That will be a fun thing to make for a few lucky backers!
Two weeks ago, I drove 600 miles into California to record with Mark Seelig. As mentioned to my Patreon patrons recently, Mark plays bansuri flutes on the Fleeting track “Meditations on the Skeleton.” R. Scot Johns commented, “I really like Mark’s flute, but would much prefer the track with no vocal…” Your wish is my command! The backstory on this track is a bit long, you can read the full blog at Patreon. The short version is that I am going to create a bonus album, an extended version of this track as an ambient/electronic journey. I will go into the studio to work with the tracks I recorded with Mark. Process, edit, texturize. My next studio project… Soon.
You might remember the Bike Shop vinyl EP that I Kickstarted back in September. Guess what! It’s almost finished. The plant says the vinyl will be pressed mid-April. OMG, vinyl takes forever! Sorry about this, but it’s been in slow-motion at the plant for a while. I’m ready to ship them, as soon as I have them in hand.
After I get These fleeting moments designed, I am going to launch the Kickstarter for the deluxe CD edition. I have interesting design ideas for the release, ideas are still spinning & forming in my head. Stay tuned for details. I hope you will support this release. It’s the first Black tape for a blue girl album in seven years, and it’s a great one! I am thrilled with Oscar Herrera’s return to the band. He says this is the best Blacktape album yet! I love hearing his voice in the music again; it was great creating these songs for him to sing! The album met my intention of sounding like it was born from the same place as the classic 90s Blacktape albums.
There’s a blog here from January, with links to videos of the band in the studio.
It’s going to be a busy two months, there is a lot for a Black Tape For A Blue Girl fan to look forward to! Thank you so much for your interest in my work, and your support.
I thought I’d share some of the visuals I’ve been looking at lately…
1 At the very top is a close up of Mark Seelig’s flutes. Starting below that on the left and then working clockwise…
2 The Bike Shop Vinyl test pressings. The 2nd set of test pressings. I’ve sent copies out to three of the Time Trial level supporters.
3 I dropped by Cascade and picked up some samples of the 12″ cover and insert for Bike Shop. Ooooooh, they look nice. Amber Shine on the cover is just about life size. You can’t do that on a CD! Read a short blog about it (with larger photo) on the Kickstarter Update page. Michael Plaster has signed copies of the cover, and mailed them to me for my signature (these are for the backers, but there will be some leftovers for sale on the Projekt site, after all the backer packages have been mailed.)
4 Paulo in Portugal purchased a copy of the Remnants of a deeper purity vinyl release. I prepared it, signed it, and shipped it off to him. There are still around 50 copies left. If you would like a signed copy for yourself, be sure to tell Joe when you order, and also message me.
5 I designed a 4″ Projekt beer coaster. It’s at the printer.
6 I sent in the 20th anniversary CD edition of Remnants. Yes, really. It’s 20 years this summer! Wow. It will be a 6-panel digipak with 2-CDs (digi design shown here), with a deluxe 16-page booklet, and also a 1-color sticker (see that image on Facebook). This package is super deluxe thanks to the backing I receive at Patreon.
Thanks for your interest, and taking the time to read this.
Stay tune for the Fleeting deluxe CD Kickstarter, launching in May.
Projekt’s first new release in a while on the darkwave side of the label is Beneath the Serene from Mercury’s Antennae. This is a perfect release for all fans of Projekt’s classic ethereal, shoegaze, dreampop sound. The duo of Erick and Dru are joined by bassist Cindy for a beautifully dynamic set of songs.
I’ll be talking about the album more in the coming weeks. Today, check out the printer’s proof of the ecoWallet. We expect to have the CD in hand early next week, then Joe will start shipping from Philly. You can stake your claim on one of the 300 copies with a pre-order at the introductory price of $12.
New Releases for FebruarySteve Roach: Emotions Revealed CD or download A delayed transmission from the early 80s. These lost tracks created just prior to the Structures from Silence era represent two then-emerging sides of Steve’s artistic muse. Erik Wøllo: Visions CD or download This remastered $7 budget-priced collection brings together 8 standout tracks from the 12 Projekt releases by this renowned Norwegian electronic artist. Visionsinvites you into an hour of the impressive and kinetic music of Erik Wollo. Steve Roach: Live In Tucson – Pinnacle Moments CD or download Limited edition of 300. Recorded February 14th, 2015 at Tucson’s Solar Culture Galactic Center. The flow of energy this music holds offers an empowering way to ride an emotional soundwave into the present moment.
I was in the studio this weekend recording vocals with Oscar & Dani Herrera for the upcoming Black Tape For A Blue Girl album, These fleeting moments. As you might know, Oscar was the band’s original vocalist from 1986-1999, performing on the first 7 of our 10 studio albums. Oscar sings eight songs on These fleeting moments. Dani – his daughter – sings three; Dani was not even a year old when vocals were laid down for our The Rope debut 30 years ago.
This was our second weekend of recording, after a session back in August. I’m excited! The vocals are all done, and they sound amazing. In fact, the entire recording for the album might be finished! I have to do some more rough mixes, and listen through and see if there’s anything else I’d like to add. But yeah, I think it might be done. Wow! The album will have a Kickstarter campaign and then a release in mid-2016.
This time I shot some video in the studio of Oscar and Dani. I made one minute clips for you:I’m limitless
Read more about this track on my Patreon postOne promised love She’s gone The vastness of life
The recording of this album is supported by the patrons at patreon.com/Blacktapeforabluegirl
Do you know that there’s a lot of people who didn’t realize that Black Tape For A Blue Girl is still making music. I often get Facebook friend requests with a message like, “Wow! It was so cool to find you here. I used to listen to your music in college, nice to see you’re still active.” If you could help spread the word, that would be great!
Previous statement:Oscar Herrera returns to Black Tape For A Blue Girl
Sixteen years after he last sang with the band, original Blacktape vocalist Oscar Herrera is back in the studio with Sam Rosenthal recording These Fleeting Moments. This is more than just a nostalgic one-song appearance — Oscar sings eight songs on the new album. Complementing Oscar is his daughter Dani who sings three songs; she was not even a year old when vocals were laid down for the band’s The Rope debut 30 years ago. Here is a video with an excerpt from one of the new tracks, “The vastness of life,” followed by the duo on Sam’s couch performing the 1989 Blacktape song “Through sky blue rooms.” Recorded in August of 2015, it’s all the more poignant because of the Bowie magazine cover playfully propped up to watch over them. Oscar and Dani return to Portland in late January to record the remaining vocals on These Fleeting Moments. Sam’s lyrics emotionally confront an awareness of time’s passage, questioning where we are in life and love. The album of all new material will be Kickstarted and then released in the spring.
< Forrest Fang: The Sleepwalker’s Ocean (2-CD)
Listen to two unreleased songs on Forrest’s Soundcloud page.
Forrest talks about the pieces: I’d like to share these two recent pieces with my listeners as a thank you. The first piece, “Chimera,” is an outtake from my recordings for the Projekt release, The Sleepwalker’s Ocean. I left it off the album only because it didn’t seem to fit anywhere. The piece has elements that were composed at different times and were blended together much later. The second piece, “Arrow,” is a short experimental piece I recorded recently just for fun. It incorporates two instruments that date back to my childhood: a drum with a cardboard frame that my father helped me make in Indian Guides and a pair of maracas given to my family by a visiting exchange student. I’ve included a picture of them.
The Sleepwalker’s Ocean is a hypnotic deep-ambient exploration through the fantastical, elusive realm of the subconscious. Disc 2 is a first for Fang: a 54-minute electronic landscape that explores an interior world of elusive and impressionistic thoughts and images. Embracing the American minimalists and ambient soundscape artists, Fang blends electronics with acoustic instruments within a framework influenced by traditional Asian music.
Limited edition of 300
A review from Eurock.com Forrest Fang – The Sleepwalkers Ocean Forrest Fang is one of my 35-year long musical heroes. As a student at university, in 1980 he brought me a copy of his very first album composing experiment, Music from the Blackboard Jungle. Since then he has had a career outside the music industry while continuing to peruse his musical dreams releasing a total of 13 albums to date.
His brand new double album is entitled The Sleepwalker’s Ocean, a masterpiece of sonic architecture that combines the deep ebb and flow of electronic earth tones with swirling jet stream sound currents and free-floating celestial melodies. Forest creates intricate sonic textures and timbers using synth/ keyboards & guitar intertwined with exotica – Mandolin/ Marxolin/Saron/Lavta & Cántaro.
The album’s extended five-part title track and the whole of disc two entitled “An Alternate Ocean (The Salton Sea)” contain music that transcends any genre while transporting you to another time and place.
Fifteen years post-millennium we are plunging headlong into the era of diminishing returns. Music production is fast becoming simply a ghost in the machine. You can still buy CDs, but have to pay again to play and promote it on radio. The digital domain has destroyed the spirit of humanity in producing music while filling the coffers of the Tech gods.
The few sacred stores still surviving recycle old musical artifacts and detritus from the present. Fortunately, artists like Forrest Fang have continued their path for decades defying the continuing shift of the zeitgeist making music for art’s sake, stimulating the senses and fortifying the soul. “If music be the food of love, then play on.”
January webstore top-5 Forrest Fang: The Sleepwalker’s Ocean (2-CD) Steve Roach: Emotions Revealed (CD) Klaus Schulze & Pete Namlook: Dark Side Of The Moog Vol. 1-4 (5CD Box) (Pre-Order, Mid-Feb) Steve Roach: Vortex 2-Pack Forrest Fang: Phantoms (CD) – 70% Off
Forrest Fang’s The Sleepwalker’s Ocean (2-CD) is the #1 seller (of the past 30 days) in the Projekt webstore. This very cool hypnotic deep-ambient exploration CD is limited to 300 physical copies. It’s also available for download at Bandcamp.
kjb wrote “OK, I took the bait. The list of instruments on The Sleepwalker’s Ocean ranged from typical to Mediterranean-like names, but I had to look up what a Marxolin is. Great thing about Projekt music is all the literary references and oddities contained therein.”
I asked Forrest to tell us more about the Marxolin:
The Marxolin is anan instrument which appears occasionally on my albums, including my latest one, “The Sleepwalker’s Ocean.” The Marxolin was a zither-like folk instrument created in the early 20th Century by inventor Henry Marx, and was manufactured through his company, The Marxochime Colony, in Troy, Michigan. The instrument was marketed to farmers by travelling salesmen who trumpeted its ease of use, but I find it hard to imagine that anyone had an easy time playing them. Ideally, the chords are to be played with little hammers while a bow plays the melody on individual strings. Not easy to do, as I have found. I’ve always had a weakness for unusual musical instruments, beginning with a plastic hose from a vacuum cleaner I had while in college. I picked up my Marxolin when an online retailer was liquidating the few instruments remaining in the Marxochime warehouse. Above is a picture of it on my living room floor. Mine was probably a late model. You can hear me play the hammers from the Marxolin on “Gone To Ground” from the new album. Thanks for your interest.
The Sleepwalker’s Ocean is a hypnotic deep-ambient exploration through the fantastical, elusive realm of the subconscious. Disc 2 is a first for Fang: a 54-minute electronic landscape that explores an interior world of elusive and impressionistic thoughts and images. Embracing the American minimalists and ambient soundscape artists, Fang blends electronics with acoustic instruments within a framework influenced by traditional Asian music. Purchase a copy today.
The following was part of the post the weekend of January 8th. The promotion has ended. Thanks to the 600 people who downloaded.
One of the fun things about running Projekt Records is introducing people to great music; hearing is believing! With that in mind, through Sunday evening I’ve made Forrest’s 2000 release, Gongland, a name-your-price download. Gongland was his first CD on Projekt (though he released 7 albums before it); you should hear it.
Download this weekend at Bandcamp.
“On Gongland, Fang produces soundscapes suffused with peace and a sense of floating and drifting beauty that are wondrous to explore.” – Alternate Music Press (Ben Kettlewell)
Download Gongland for $7 at Bandcamp.
A few days ago on a post at the Black Tape For A Blue Girl Patreon, I replied: In “Absolute zero” he knows its hopeless and yet he’s still hopeful. In “Cabin” he’s resigned. In “Vega” he’s resigned. And in “She’s Gone” he’s sort of reached the point of, “Oh fuck it! I’m just going to move on and try again…”
Kervin Brungardt commented: I heartily approve of the story arc and stages in attitude in Bike Shop. It happens that way so often and you have captured the emotional landscape so well. Trivia – Dennis Hopper grew up in Dodge City, KS 80 miles 18 years from where I grew up. Always proud of a fellow High Plains person.
And here’s my reply.
Hey Kervin… Dennis is is a home town boy. How cool! Here’s how the idea came to me to include him in the song.
Usually I spend time listening to the music track as I craft words into lyrics. But “The Cabin” and “Vega” were written a bit differently. I had the music recorded, and I wrote some words (first half of photo above) that I thought fit the mood. Nothing polished, just source material for the song. I brought that sheet into the studio and began recording guide melodies over the music. Shaping them into lines that fit the lengths of the lines.
That was verse one. Now what? When I look at that sheet of paper, I see I thought, “What happens next? Oh! Why doesn’t Dennis Hopper show up to give Mike’s character some dating advice!”
“Seems legit!” as my son would say. : )
But why Dennis Hopper?
I was listening to a lot of early Neil Young when writing the tracks for Bike Shop. In “Pocahontas” (from Rust Never Sleeps – 1979 – actually not so early of an album) Neil sings, “And maybe Marlon Brando will be there by the fire; We’ll sit and talk of Hollywood and the good things there for hire.” That line has been in my mind for over 35 years…. so heading into the 2nd verse, I blurted out (as you can see above), “and maybe a young dennis hopper would sit with us here by the fire, laughing and saying, “man, what are you talking about…” (if you’ve ever seen a Hopper interview on Letterman, you know how he loved to laugh and say “man”) and then I continued, “you’re not gonna deny her, your still caught up i desire…” I just started writing out a string of sentences that rhymed with “fire” to get to the joke at the end of the verse.
Later, I reread the words to “Pocahontas” and made a small change to the first line to make it more similar…
and maybe a young dennis hopper, would be there by the fire, sayin’, “man you can’t deny her, you’re still caught up in desire, get her on that ole’ telephone wire, and do what it takes. don’t let your love expire, you’ve gotta go out on the high wire, let your passion burn like fire.” It’s a bunch of somewhat cliche advice that you might hear from a friend, as you’re thinking, “Naw. Nope. Not gonna happen. Way too late.”
Thus the song ends with:
dennis loved to speak in words that rhymed, but i can’t see that they apply to me so i don’t think i’ll go back to that cabin anymore.
And yes, there is a cabin. And I’ve since visited again. I dusted myself off and tried again.
Have I ever mention to you that artists are a crazy lot? We can get obsessed over a trivial detail which – quite frankly – nobody in the world will ever even notice. And if they did hear it, they wouldn’t call it a “problem.”
Two weeks ago, Josh mastered the four tracks for the “Bike Shop” vinyl ep. They sound great; very “live” and present. However, the first verse of “The Cabin” seemed too loud to me, and not compressed well. This wasn’t Josh’s fault, it happened in my mix, and then was accentuated by the EQ and compression in the mastering. Gotta fix it!
I sent Josh a new mix of the track, to compensate. Guess what!?! On the version 2 mastering the vocals in the first verse sound very consistent (as far as the volume from word to word), but they all sounds a bit too soft.
Yeah, right! Probably half a Db too soft. Anyone going to notice?
Now I am going to try Josh’s patience by suggesting an EQ fix to the problem.
In “She’s Gone” I wrote, “Love’s a lot like insanity anyway.” Well, hey. Being a musician is a lot like insanity, too. : )
I found a model that I think would look great on the cover. I’ve sent her a message, but no answer yet. I made a mock-up of the cover, but I have to hear back from her before I can share it.
Things are moving along…