ARC00139

Black Tape For A Blue Girl: Across a thousand blades (demos+live)

Tracks

1 Into Narration 00:25
2. Across a thousand blades (8-11-1988) 03:51
3. Across a thousand blades (other version – late 1987) 04:38
4. Across a thousand blade (2007 mix) 03:49
5. Across a thousand blades (1997 instrumental backing track) 03:43
6. Across a thousand blades (live 8-2-1997 Projektfest Chicago) 03:52
7. Across a thousand blades (live 8-31-1997 Hexx Boston) 03:58

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THE “BIKE SHOP” VINYL EP
Kickstarter to donate: kck.st/1Fkr0T1

FROM THE VAULT:

“Across a thousand blades” is Black Tape For A Blue Girl’s best known track from our first decade. It was released on 1989’s ASHES IN THE BRITTLE AIR, our third release. I’ve pulled together some never before heard demos and live tracks. I hope you enjoy them.

I’ve always imagined that “Blades” sprung into existance fully-formed, created in a mad scramble to write new songs after I scrapped the first mix of the ASHES IN THE BRITTLE AIR album. Alas, that version of my history has been debunked by the discovery of thees demo tracks.

You see, I’m in the process of recreating the first mix of ASHES, for a soon to be released Bandcamp exclusive: ASHES IN THE BRITTLE AIR (THE PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED FIRST VERSION). It’s really a completely different album from the one you know. You will hear 5 unreleased songs, along with different recordings / mixes of 6 songs from the album proper.

In the fall of 1988, I grew dissatisfied with the album mix I had completed, as well as dissatisfied with a number of the songs themselves. I tossed those, revamped others, and wrote new ones for the official version.

“Across a thousand blades” didn’t appear on the first version of the album. My memory has always told me that I wrote this song really quick one afternoon, in preparation for a trip back to Florida to record with Oscar.

While digging through the cassette vaults I discovered something odd. A tape from late-87 with a song titled “Across a thousand blades (other ver DCD trump)” (the 3rd track in this download). As far as I can tell, this song was created during the process of writing pieces for the album. However, what you hear has nothing to do with the song you know; perhaps there’s something familiar in the Emax horns, but nothing really carries through except for the title.

I think that must be it! I liked the horns – and the title – and when I was rushing to write replacement songs, I started with those two elements and created something new.

The 2nd track here is a demo of that new version of “Blades;” most of the elements from this demo appear in the final version. On this recording, I’m playing my ESQ-1 keyboard and the HR-16 drum machine; no vocals, no drums, no electric guitars. This is my synth demo.

Those two songs were transferred from cassette, and sound great considering their age, and the crappy quality of the tapes they were recorded on. I added some compression and a touch of EQ.

The 4th song is the final mix of the song, from 2007, with a bunch of extra vocals and instruments added over the years.

Honestly, if I had been an outsider hearing these demos in 1988, I never would have predicted a dramatic goth rock track like “Across a thousand blades” would arise from them. But arise it did!

It’s one of the best known Black Tape For A Blue Girl songs.

I hope you enjoy this view into the creation of this classic track.

Sam

#4 credits.
Original Recording:
Sam Rosenthal: electronics & drum machine
Oscar Herrera: vocal
Allan Kraut: percussion & guitar
Bridget Knott: backing vocals
Added on later mixes:
Mera Roberts: cello
Lisa Feuer: flute, high backing vocals in chorus
Lucian Casselman: backing vocals in last 30 seconds.

Also included in this download are two live recordings from 1997; these are taken from some of the few shows Oscar performed with the band. I transferred these from DAT and they reveal all the imperfections of the live experience. But still, this is history!

#6
Show #2 | Sat August 2, 1997 | Projektfest’97
The Vic Theatre in Chicago, IL
On this track: Sam, Oscar, Lucian, Mera, Kirk

#7
Show #9 | Sun August 31, 1997 | Dance Macabre Festival
Hexx in Boston, MA
On this track: Sam, Oscar, Lucian, Mera

All tracks written by Sam © Seireenien Music, BMI

Weight .3 lbs

Reviews

  1. Reviews Editor

    Review  –:

    From The Grim Tower

    What is undoubtedly a classic Black Tape For A Blue Girl track, Across A Thousand Blades has released as a free EP and features several new and mixed versions of the song. The 1988 version is the first we hear, which is here instrumental and features the trademark darkwave synths that we know and love. This is what makes the music of acts like Black Tape For A Blue Girl, Dead Can Dance and Depeche Mode so memorable. The eighties were a wonderful time for this kind of music, which appears to be making a comeback. A demo version follows, which has a decidedly different an arguably more triumphant feel. I’m still trying to figure out how the lyrics might have sounded on this 1987 piece, but I can assure you that they would have been by and large very different.

    This second piece is also much longer, and feels more royal for some reason. Then we have the guitar-laden 2007 version, which is the version I remember hearing first. This one actually does have vocals, which seem to slither and snake their way through the piece, culminating in both a strong choral and synth portion right there, almost as if in a sense of climax. The song itself unveils a bit of mysticism, but I’d have it not other way. Next we have the 1997 instrumental backing track to the original piece, which sounds a bit ghostly. Finally, we have a live version of the song which doesn’t feature the guitar of the 2007 version, but instead features the heavy synths of the original (seeing as it was recorded in 1997.) When it’s all said and done, fans of Black Tape For A Blue Girl will find this small EP quite intriguing and worth a listen. -Eric May

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