Archive for the ‘Blog from Sam’ Category

Musings-Harley

Aug 14

My two-year plan

My two-year plan From Black Tape For A Blue Girl’s Sam Rosenthal

I like creating short headlines in my brain; a string of words that represent a larger concept. Then I can repeat the headline to myself (rather than having to think out every little aspect of the concept) when I want to remember what the hell I am doing!

My new headline is “Two-year plan:” I want to create a lot of Black tape for a blue girl music in the next two years. But before I talk about the future, let me step back into the past.

The core of the recording of These Fleeting Moments began in June of 2014 when I laid down my electronics for “six thirteen.” Friday’s release date marked two years & two months from start to finish on the album.

To recap recent albums: 2002 (14 years ago) The Scavenger Bride 2004 (12 years ago) Halo Star 2008 (8 years ago) Revue Noir side-project 2009 (7 years ago) 10 Neurotics 2016 These Fleeting Moments (additional instrumental albums in there as well, full list here)

The last Blacktape album, 10 Neurotics, came out seven years ago. That was way too long ago! I have plenty of reasonable explanations for why it took so long. I wrote my novel Rye. I worked with Nicki Jaine in a side-project, I made the “Marmalade Cat” video and Tenderotics remix album. I toured to promoteRye. I moved to Oregon. I recorded some instrumental albums. I’m raising my son half of every week.

But there’s another bigger part of the delay; it had to do with enthusiasm. At the beginning of this decade I got down on the idea of making my music, as the recording industry entered financial free fall. I would ask myself, “What’s the point of creating art that nobody wants to hear?” I was just burnt out on it all. Though I’ll admit now that the problem was a mistake in perception. It’s not that nobody wants to hear music, it’s that only a select group of loyal people want to pay for music / support the creation of art.

People love hearing music, they just also love free.

But to make a long story short, contact (via Kickstarter and this Patreon) with people who are dedicated to my art picked me back up. I’ve been in touch with so many of you who love my music and want to see me make more of it. That’s very inspiring.

That gives me back my enthusiasm for making art.

How people hear music

The big change in the music industry in the last five years (aside from plummeting sales) is the growth of streaming. Most casual-listeners-of-music stream tracks these days. Back in 1996, Remnants of a deeper purity sold 16,000 CDs! There were a lot more fans of this genre, a lot more casual listeners. As there wasn’t a simple way to hear this type of music, purchasing was the way to go. While it would be wonderful if all 16,000 of those people still wanted to support my art, I am realistic: they don’t. I understand. I can’t turn back the clock, or tilt at windmills.

From Buddhism, I learn, “The first cause of suffering is not knowing the true nature of Reality. The second cause of suffering is grasping or holding onto what is illusory or insubstantial.” And the thing that leads to the cessation of suffering? Letting go of illusion. Seeing reality for what it is.

People want music. Lots of music. Only some of you want to pay for it (thank you!), and at the moment streaming is what a lot of the people want. That’s reality.

Streaming is an immediate format. It’s like a river, there’s always music rushing by. This led me to realize that I need to create more music, to keep everything flowing. I don’t want to go seven years between Black Tape For A Blue Girl albums. I need to create music regularly, because I’m an artist, and making music is what I do.

The people who are reading this pay attention to what I create, I appreciate that. But we all know about the average attention span of most consumers of media these days: very short.

Like I said, I don’t think seven years until I release more new music is the way to go. Or even every two years. People love hearing new music. This is my idea, the core of the Two-year plan:

I want to create an EP’s worth of music every 6 months and a new album every 18 months.Some of the EP tracks will be on the album, some will not.

Looking at it retroactively, the Bike Shop EP was the first attempt at this concept. It has 4 songs. Only “bike shop/absolute zero” appears in the same exact form onThese fleeting moments. The track “She’s gone” evolved into what you hear on the album. Two are only on the Bike Shop release. I think this is very cool.

Part of what makes this possible is the way the record industry has evolved. It used to be very restricted. Everything was suppose to be focused around THE ALBUM RELEASE. Don’t compete with the album. Don’t distract. Focus two years of energy on one thing. But that’s not the way people ‘consume’ music, these days.

Another thing. Not every bit of music needs a physical release that gets into “stores.” Digital might turn out to be the first priority with the EPs, though I am thinking of something for collectors, too. Perhaps special numbered limited edition CDs. 100? 200? Not sure yet.

I want to make a lot of music. I want to tell you all about this, so you hold me to it! I think it’s worth having an optimistic goal to aim for.

What’s that quote?

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark. ” – Michelangelo

So yeah! I want to create a lot of new music. Write a lot of new lyrics. Give you lots of interesting new things to listen to. That’s all part of my Two-year plan.

Thanks for supporting me in making this possible.

Sam

Black Tape For A Blue Girl releases & reissues These fleeting moments Deluxe-CD, limited edition of 500 order CD for $20 Digital: Bandcamp or iTunes. Remnants of a deeper purity 20th anniversary reissue order 2-CD for $15 Digital: Bandcamp or iTunes. The Rope Tshirt Back in print for 2016 pre-order t-shirt for $19 the Bike Shop\12″ Limited edition vinyl release order 12″ for $7 (No digital, only Vinyl!)

Projekt’s August releases Steve Roach: Shadow of Time / This Place to Be 2-pack with bonus third disc. Order CDs for $25 Digital: Bandcamp or iTunes or Spotted Peccary High Res. Erik Wollo: Star’s End 2015 (Silent Currents 4) Limited edition of 300. Order CD for $16 Digital: Bandcamp or iTunes or Spotted Peccary High Res.
NPRTech

Aug 08

Sam interviewed on NPR’s All things considered & an editorial

Sam Rosenthal — of the band Black Tape For A Blue Girl and owner of Projekt Records — was interviewed by NPR’s Laura Sydell about the DMCA. Read the article & listen at NPR’s All Tech Considered.

Here are a few paragraphs that covers what it’s about.

…Artists say that aspects of the law that were written in the late 1990s make it too easy for tech companies to ignore rampant piracy on their sites and put too much responsibility on the artists themselves to find the illegal music files.

It may be hard to feel sorry for high-profile artists like Taylor Swift — but you might feel bad for Sam Rosenthal, who runs a small independent label, Projekt Records. He’s been making a living as a musician and producer of electronic music for 30 years. Over the past decade, he says he’s struggled to keep his business alive.

“It involves continuously finding more ways to save and downsizing. And trying to keep ahead of the decline basically,” Rosenthal says. “I had 11 people working for me in the ’90s and now I have two part-time people working for me.”

and then later:

“Google could solve this problem — 90 percent of this problem — with one switch,” Rosenthal says. “And if they were really on the side of the creators they would do something about that.”

The Steve Roach music played during the piece is “The Feeling Expands” from the album Spiral Meditations. Stream and purchase a download at Bandcamp. Or purchase the CD from Projekt.

To contact Sam, email sr.projekt-at-gmail.com

There were two things I realized while doing this interview.

1) Projekt is more than this silly little thing I do for a living. It’s not just my job, it’s actually a small business, that has served a purpose in the financial ecosystem of many lives. And – unbeknown to most – over the last 20 years Projekt has brought in and spent over $7,500,000! Very little of that stuck to me, mind you. It went out to the artists, and the manufacturing plants, and rent, and salaries, and shipping supplies, and the promotion Projekt has done.

Projekt is one of those “small businesses” you always hear politicians patriotically talking about. I once employed eleven people, many full time, paid a decent salary, and even covered health insurance for some of them for a while. I’ve written checks to artists for a lot of royalties over the years. But so much of that was rapidly destroyed by the changes in the music industry.

Think about $7,500,000. That’s a lot of cash that Projekt has swirled around the economy; especially when you consider that Projekt is a teeny-tiny little label that 99.9% of the people who listen to NPR have never heard of.

2) I really *do* blame the tech industry for the destruction that has befallen artists: musicians, filmmakers, video game makers, porn makers. We’ve all become the content that consumers want for free; the content the tech industry wants to provide for free, without having to pay anything for it.

When I said “Google could solve this problem,” I wasn’t actually talking about Google talking the files down, which is the way the article frames it. What I specifically meant was that Google knows exactly who the bad actors are. Google’s Transparency Report is a running tally of DMCA complaints filed with Google, for sites that post links and post illegal content. There were over eighty-eight million (88,171,520) reports filed in the last month! 4shared.com has over 3 million in the last month and fourty-two million since they started keeping track.

Guess what?

I highly doubt 4shared is doing something legitimate.

Google could flip a switch and block 4shared from their search engines across the world. Problem solved.

I know. Some will cry censorship. And others will cry, “Yeah, but what if Google gets complaints about my website and block it?” Well listen, you’re not getting 3 million DMCA complaints a month, are you? (If you are, you’re doing something wrong). Google could establish a threshold. How about, “If your site gets 250,000 complaints in a month, you have to clean up your act and reduce that number by 99%. If you get the same or more the next month, and then the next month, Bam! You’re off the Google search engine.”

Cry censorship, but that’s not what this is. This is blocking bad actors who continue with unethical activities that kill other businesses. Like I said, I used to have 11 employees. Now I have one, and two part-time helpers. All these tech companies are screwing the artists you love as well as the people who work in the artistic industries. And you know why? Because tech companies (and the illegal hosting sites) are making money from doing this. Nobody in the tech world wants to change; not when they’re getting rich off of us.

But something has to change.

Google and the other tech companies could solve problems without the government rewriting the DMCA. While the major labels are renegotiating just how screwed they’ll allow themseves to be by youTube, why don’t they hold out until Google makes some changes to search?

Seems like a deal that should be struck.

Left, unsaid

There was something that didn’t make it into the interview.

When I mentioned this self-curating of the bad actors, Laura said something like, “Well the tech companies would say this is infringing on the free flow of information…” And I shot back, “Well of course they would say that, because saying that is in their best financial interest.”

What they are not saying is it would infringe on their freedom to make money off the work of artists and creators. Google pays nothing – but gets rich – off other people’s content when they share these links to illegal content and sell ad space around it. Has Google paid an advance to an artist to create music? Has Google funded an artists’ tours? Their videos? No. They don’t support creativity.

Yet they certainly love making money off creator’s labor!

Honestly, I feel this is an old fight that I have personally moved on from. I know artists have lost and tech companies have won. I can’t keep re-arguing an ethically correct (but real-world unsuccessful) argument. I am finding new ways to continue making a living, keeping Projekt in business, earning income for the artists who work with me, while following my vision for what Projekt should be.

I am resigned to the fact that the tech companies will keep making money off creators, while screwing me and my friends.

But I do thank those of you who support artists with your purchases. You’re the good guys.

Sam

From Facebook:

August releases on Projekt from Sam Rosenthal:

Picking up Blacktape’s classic 90s darkwave, ethereal, darkAmbient sound; original vocalist Oscar Herrera returns on their 30th anniversary.

Black Tape For A Blue Girl: These fleeting moments

Deluxe-CD, limited edition of 500, order CD for $20 Deluxe packaging: CD in a 7″ x 5″ landscape-shaped dvd-sized digipak with internal pocket holding the 12-page booklet. Matte varnish. Thick stock. Signed by Sam.

These fleeting moments

Black Tape For A Blue Girl returns to their evocative ethereal, neoclassical, darkAmbient, gothic roots with an album exploring the existential predicaments of time’s passage, choices questioned, and loves lost. Original vocalist Oscar Herrera rejoins the band after a 17-year absence. His darkly dramatic vocals are complemented by Dani Herrera’s emotional and heartfelt voice, Nick Shadow’s visceral viola, Brian Viglione’s (The Dresden Dolls) driving drums, and band-founder Sam Rosenthal’s pensive electronics and revelatory songwriting. These fleeting moments, their 11th studio release, is 70 minutes of powerful, gorgeously yearning tracks born from the same place as their 90s classics Remnants of a Deeper Purity and A Chaos of Desire.

Read the full album description and order your CD

PRO00331-3

Aug 01

Black Tape For A Blue Girl – limited deluxe CD & The Rope shirt

We’re taking pre-orders on two new Black Tape For A Blue Girl items:

Picking up Blacktape’s classic 90s darkwave, ethereal, darkAmbient sound; original vocalist Oscar Herrera returns on their 30th anniversary.

Black Tape For A Blue Girl: These fleeting moments

Deluxe-CD, limited edition of 500, pre-order CD for $20 Deluxe packaging: CD in a 7″ x 5″ landscape-shaped dvd-sized digipak with internal pocket holding the 12-page booklet. Matte varnish. Thick stock.

A message from Blacktape fan Sean, in Scotland: Sam – you do not disappoint! The album is just simply stunning. Beautiful, powerful, melancholy… incredible. Having Oscar back really links it to the past and, although certainly a more “classic” sounding BlackTape album than 10 Neurotics, there is still the continuing evolution of the music and vision – no backwards movement here! Anyhow, I just had to say that!

            

These fleeting moments

Black Tape For A Blue Girl returns to their evocative ethereal, neoclassical, darkAmbient, gothic roots with an album exploring the existential predicaments of time’s passage, choices questioned, and loves lost. Original vocalist Oscar Herrera rejoins the band after a 17-year absence. His darkly dramatic vocals are complemented by Dani Herrera’s emotional and heartfelt voice, Nick Shadow’s visceral viola, Brian Viglione’s (The Dresden Dolls) driving drums, and band-founder Sam Rosenthal’s pensive electronics and revelatory songwriting. These fleeting moments, their 11th studio release, is 70 minutes of powerful, gorgeously yearning tracks born from the same place as their 90s classics Remnants of a Deeper Purity and A Chaos of Desire.

Read the full album description and pre-order your CD on the Projekt website                

Black Tape For A Blue Girl: The Rope Tshirt

Classic shirt design back in print for 2016. pre-order shirt for $19. Printed in America on American Apparel #2001. Sizes S – XXXL< We're taking pre-orders on a new printing of the classic Rope-face shirt. Place your order now to reserve the size you’d like. This is the first time the shirt has been printed on all sizes, but we’ll only be ordering the larger and smaller sizes based on your requests.

The order will be placed with our printer on Friday August 5.

                Please note that if you order the CD and the Shirt at the same time, the CD will not be shipped until the shirts arrive later this month. If you want the CD now, then please order it seperately.

                                                                                                                                                          Mercury’s Antennae live in August:                                        Reno NV August 25 | Website                            Santa Cruz CA August 26 | Facebook event page                            Oakland CA August 27 | Facebook event page                            Facebook page for the entire tour.                                              

                   

                                       

                 

               

                                    < a href="http://www.twitter.com/Blacktapesam" target="BLANK"> < a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/samrosenthal" target="BLANK">   < a href="http://instagram.com/blacktapeforabluegirl/" target="BLANK">  

                The History of Projekt Part 1 : < a href="http://www.uandumusic.com/new-articlesreviews/">Part 2 These are short, five-minute reads on the origin of Projekt. Part 3 & 4 coming soon.

Square-Kickstarter-Add-Ons

Jun 16

Black Tape For A Blue Girl Kickstarter Add-ons

WE MADE IT! Get ready, because this is happening!

We made it!!! The Kickstarter for Black Tape For A Blue Girl’s These fleeting moments reached the $12k goal Thursday, and we’re almost to the first stretch goal (which adds a bonus CD to the package). There are 2 more days on the campaign, this is exciting! I’ve created some add-ons for pledgers, to get even more cool stuff.

Add-ons are additional items you can add to your pledge.

Add-on instructions

1 Determine the total cost of the item(s) you would like to add from the list below. • Include postage for overseas orders.

2 Visit the Kickstarter page and click the blue “Manage” button that appears next to your current pledge amount. • If you have not pledged yet, it will say ‘Back this Project.’ • Add-ons require a pledge at the $25 or higher tier,

3 On the next page, select “Update your pledge” • Increase your pledge in the ‘Pledge Amount’ box by the total of the add-ons you want. • Do not change the tier you are currently pledged at unless you also want to increase to a new pledge level. In that case, you will then need to add the total of your add-ons to the amount of the new tier you choose. • Accept the new total.

4 Send a message to Sam (via Kickstarter) with a list of the items you want.

Do I need to add shipping/handling?

Maybe. Shipping & handling is included for U.S. backers. Additional worldwide shipping as specified below.

Add-ons to choose from:

1 — The Rope LP – handmade cover (100 available) ($25) The vinyl itself is “new old stock” pressed in 1986. The covers are handmade in 2016, with color photos glued to a one-color printed black LP jacket. Album title written by Sam, and signed by Sam.

Please note this important disclaimer: Due to the age of the unplayed vinyl, there is some warping. If you are opposed to any warpage on your LPs, please do not select this item. I asked the most exacting Blacktape vinyl customer to review a copy. He writes: “True, I like to have a ‘perfect’ record, but still this plays out and the warping issue is not audible. The only way to know it’s warped is to look at it. The warp on mine is not a bother to me. Others might have issues with it, of course. When I replayed my copy with a record weight it was flat warp free.” Also keep in mind the vinyl has been in storage for 30 years, so the album will need a wet cleaning to remove dust and such. Delivered: USA: late July. Overseas: in December. Add $5 for international shipping ($30 total)

2 — Black Tape For A Blue Girl Black Tote Bag ($20) http://www.companycasuals.com/CompanyCasuals/b.jsp?id=1087&prodimage=imglib/catl/B050UBK03MS.jpg&swatch=Black This 14x14x3 inch black tote is perfect for carrying LPs or a quick supermarket trip. Delivered: USA: late July. Overseas: late July. Add $2 for international shipping ($22 total)

The following CDs are limited quantity, They will be removed them from this list when they run out.

3 — Of these reminders 2-CD box set – (5 available) ($50) https://www.discogs.com/Various-Of-These-Reminders/release/203770 The original 1994 Projekt Black Tape For A Blue Girl cover-song box set. 2 CDs, artcards + sticker, in jewel case, shrinkwrap. Might be some corner wear after years of storage. Delivered: USA: late July. Overseas: late July. Add $5 for international shipping ($55 total)

4 — This Lush Garden CD – (5 available) ($25) https://www.discogs.com/black-tape-for-a-blue-girl-This-Lush-Garden-Within/release/6524721 The original 1993 Projekt edition, when the booklet was slipped into a translucent sleeve. In jewel case, shrinkwrap. Delivered: USA: late July. Overseas: late July. Add $2 for international shipping ($27 total)

5 — A Teardrop left behind – (5 available) ($25) https://www.discogs.com/black-tape-for-a-blue-girl-A-Teardrop-Left-Behind/release/528972 The 2nd 1991 Hyperium edition. In jewel case, shrinkwrap. Delivered: USA: late July. Overseas: late July. Add $2 for international shipping ($27 total)

6 — Revue Noir single – (5 available) ($10) https://www.discogs.com/Revue-Noir-The-Revue-Noir-Single/release/1040588 The 2006 self-released 3-song CD-single Delivered: USA: late July. Overseas: late July. No additional charge for international shipping

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Jun 13

Interview with Sam about These fleeting moments kickstarter

I was interviewed by Patrick of Mapanare. His article is here, he only had room for about 25% of what we talked about, so I am posting the rest for you.

1- Tell me about the new project, musically and thematically where is it coming from?

These fleeting moments is the new album. I’m Kickstarting the deluxe-CD and double-lp; a standard edition will be in stores August 12th. It’s been a long time since the last Black Tape For A Blue Girl CD, it was 2009. For this one, musically I decided to make an album that goes back and touches upon the band’s 90s sound. The ethereal, gothic, heavenly voices sound. Plus more instrumentals than on the last few releases. I’ve been doing a lot more crowdfunding over the last few years, and this choice is somewhat inspired by what I’m hearing from the people who support my music: the aspect of the band they are really excited about. But it also just feels right to me at this moment. 10 Neurotics was pretty much as far as I could go in writing melodic, concise songs. I wanted to go back and create textural, moody, expansive music, with lyrics.

What makes it work so well for me is Oscar is singing again. He was the band’s vocalist for the first 13 years, 7 releases. I really love his voice singing my lyrics. Having him involved let me go to places as a songwriter I haven’t been in a while. His daughter Dani sings the female vocals, and their voices work nicely together, and she does a wonderful job on the songs I wrote for her to sing solo. Nick is playing viola. Brian Viglione is the only other band member who comes along from 10 Neurotics; he’s also the drummer in the Dresden Dolls.

Like Remnants of a deeper purity, I tried to stick with a “core band” on this release. To give it more of a cohesive feeling. There are a few guests who capture certain sounds I was looking to add. Chase plays great electric guitar + bass on “Limitless,” which is the catchiest track on the album; the lyrics are philosophical questions dealing with living to our fullest potential. The album explored those sorts of themes that we all ask ourself as we get to the mid-point in our life.

2- What led you to go the crowdfunding route? What attracted you to the model?

The music business has changed so drastically since the 80s and 90s. As an artist, I need to change with the landscape and figure out what works to allow me to keep making art, and connect with the people who really care about what I create. Crowdfunding is ideal for that. For example, sometimes I ask Kickstarter pledgers how they discovered the band. And often it’s some variation of, “Oh, I remember your music from the 90s. I didn’t even know you were still around. This is cool that I can help out.” It’s very much a personal connection to a few people who really care about my music. Yes, Fleeting will be out there on Spotify and youTube, and will be heard by the most people that way. But in order to bring in the funding necessary to record and pay my band, I need something more direct then just the royalties that might be earned down the road from sales. Because you and I both know where sales are at these days.

3- Are you planning additional “stretch goals” – should people keep coming back to your Kickstarter to check out? (I mean after the pledge of course!).

Sure, I have a few stretch goals for this release. Assuming it funds, there’s a CD of extra tracks as the first one, color vinyl as the next one. I like the idea of being able to make the release even more deluxe, after the initial goal has been reached. I’ve added some new premiums and will probably have some add-ons at the end.

4- You’ve been making music for a long time—What is the same and what is different when you create?

Yeah, 2016 is the 30th anniversary of Black Tape For A Blue Girl, and I was making music for 3 years before that. It has been a long while (laughs).

I think the biggest difference on the musical side is over the last couple years I have been very prolific, starting (and scrapping) a lot of songs before settling on the ones that are on the album. I guess I feel I’m a lot better at creating music vs back in the early days. I’m not saying one era is better than the other because of that, just that it’s not as much of a struggle to get the sound I want now. That makes it all a lot more fun for me. Of course, there’s still all the angsty parts about recording. Like writing and rewriting lyrics until I feel they are good enough to present to the singers. And doing the mixes and getting OCD and tweaking miniscule level changes on the word “memories” that nobody will ever notice anyway. Digital recording makes small changes a lot easier, but it’s still stressful and makes me both excited and annoyed at the same time. In the end, it turns out beautifully and I enjoy the music. But the process is sort of a love/hate relationship at times.

5-Any plans to play shows with this new music?

Honestly, I don’t think so. What I really want to do is keep making music. Getting geared up to play is a big time suck; we only have so much time in the day, right? I have to ask myself where I want to direct my energy. And playing live is not third or even fourth on my list. I do enjoy playing live, it’s fun to go out and meet people, but it also has a lot of tedious aspects. And ultimately, I don’t feel right asking band members to perform my music, when I’m not able to fairly pay them for their time. I’d rather go in and work on new songs, and keep moving forwards on the music.

6- You mentioned it’s been seven years between releases from Blacktape. That seems like an unwise marketing strategy.

Oh yeah, I agree (laughs). It really wasn’t my intention to go that long after 10 Neurotics. One thing, then another. Like you, Pat, I’m a father. That definitely takes up a lot of my time; my son lives with me half the week. I wrote a novel. I moved across the country. I recorded an electronic album.

But a big source of the delay before I left Brooklyn in 2013 was an ongoing funk about the music business. I know many musicians who go through the same thing. They’re asking if there’s even a point anymore? I was just talking about this with somebody yesterday. They feel they were in their prime as an artist, and then the rug was pulled out from under them, as listeners switched to getting music for free. Yeah, I argued that argument, fought that battle, but then I realized I couldn’t change things. The war was already lost for those of us who measure success by units sold and dollars brought in. No matter how much I talk about artists needing to be respected and payed, things aren’t going back to the 90s where Blacktape could sell 10,000+ on each release. I realized that I create music to have it heard. I know that my music is getting a lot of play on streaming sites and through illegal downloads. And apparently even bootlegs in China. None of that makes my life easier, but it does tell me that what I’ve created is getting out there and getting heard.

I suspect the only thing worse then people stealing your music, is nobody stealing your music. That nobody cares about it.

But meh! I don’t even think of it as “stealing” anymore. It’s just the way things have evolved. It’s the new reality. Free is people’s favorite price point. Of course, money coming in from music is how I am able to keep doing it; so yeah, I still want to see income from my work. But I’ve accepted that all I can do is move forward within the environment that we have today. And look for the new ways to earn from my work. Such as my Patreon page, or crowdfunding…

Yah, ok. I got off the topic there. The long time between releases…. Nearly three years ago I settled in here in Portland. I had room for a home studio for the first time in eight years, I started working on music. Some of those first songs ended up on the album, as the instrumental section on the third side of the LP. I also met Nick, a great violist here in town. We worked together and I was able to conjure up some of that strings + electronics sound like on Chaos or Remnants. That spurred me along to work more in this direction.

Running a record company (Projekt) is good to stay away from having “a real job;” but ultimately, it’s my own music that people care about. And that’s where I’ve been putting my energy lately. The world is shaped however you are conceiving it; I decided to look at it in a way that encourages the things I want to exist.

And now my plan is to keep creating. To get a lot more consistant about releasing music. I had created my own downward spiral there for a while in the beginning of this decade. “Free music, bah! Nobody cares, why bother?!” But crowdfunding reconnected me with the people who care, and that motivated me to think about my art in new ways. A positive, and explorative way. And to make albums like this, again.

Thanks for letting me talk about this with you, Pat.

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May 28

Black Tape For A Blue Girl Kickstarter MEMORABILIA Archive

The campaign for the new Black Tape For A Blue Girl album passed the 110th-pledger, and we’re 62% of the way to the $12,000 goal. I really appreciate seeing your support of my work. It’s been seven years since the last new Black Tape For A Blue Girl album, and the music business has changed a lotin those years. Being supported by people who care about my art is really encouraging.

I like reconnecting with you. I’ve been told that back in the 90s, my songs helped many of you through tough times. Often, it was the soundtrack to your high school or college years. These connections help remind me why I am making music.

I create to connect with you.

I write something that matters to me, in hopes that it matters to you, too.

This new album is like the classic 90s releases with a mix of relationship-songs as well as existential reflections on life. Those messy questions about who I am and where I am on my path.

Please spread the word: http://kck.st/1NAqsMO

This page is an archive of the premiums that have sold-out

Visit Kickstarter

PRO00322

May 24

Nearly sold out on three Projekt limited-edition releases

These three were printed in limited editions of 300; there are less than 10 copies of each remaining: Mirabilis: Here and the Hereafter (CD) Erik Wollo: EchoTides (EP) Forrest Fang: the Sleepwalker’s Ocean (2-CD)

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May 23

Black Tape For A Blue Girl Kickstart their new album

The Kickstarter for These fleeting moments is now live

Watch the video and please make a pledge!

Deluxe limited CD & 2LP. Picking up Blacktape’s classic 90s darkwave, ethereal sound; original vocalist Oscar returns on their 30th anniversary.

I’m so excited about this album. It turned out great. Oscar Herrera is singing again after a 17-year retirement and he sounds amazing. I have been a fan of his voice since I first saw his band in the early 80s, so it’s especially monumental to me that he’s singing my music again. His involvement allowed me to write the type of songs I know only Oscar could perform! He suggested his daughter Dani as the band’s female vocalist, and it was a great idea. Their voices work nicely together, and she touchingly delivers a number of songs on her own. You know I’m big on family, so that connection is extra cool.

Listening to your comments over the years regarding what you like about my work, I think I’ve created an album that is a perfect follow-up to the releases from the 90s. There’s nearly 25 minutes of instrumentals, there’s strings, there’s deep personal lyrics reflecting on life, there’s ethereal & neo-classical, there’s dramatic and emotional vocals, and some old synths that I haven’t used in forever.

1. The vastness of life 17:42 2. Limitless 3:20 3. One promised love 4:29 4. Bike shop / absolute zero 3:08 5. Affinity 3:12 6. Please don’t go 3:56 7. Six thirteen 4:43 8. Zug köln 4:08 9. Meditation on the skeleton 9:46 10. Desert rat-kangaroo 3:08 11. She’s gone 4:02 12. She ran so far away that she no longer can be found 4:26 13. You’re inside me 4:06 Pledge your support at Kickstarter: http://kck.st/1NAqsMO

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Apr 24

Busy weekend of working on Blacktape

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

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Apr 07

Black Tape For A Blue Girl Two test bass shots (NSFW)

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! : )