2 fin de siécle
3 with my sorrows
4 for you will burn your wings upon the sun
5 wings tattered, fallen
7 remnants of a deeper purity
8 again, to drift (for veronika)
9 i have no more answers
The 20th anniversary edition of Remnants reintroduces a 16-page lyric booklet, with an extra 4-pages of candid photos. Plus a 4″ square sticker. Disc 1 was remastered in 2014, disc 2 includes an extra track added in 2013. Download a pdf of the full lyric booklet.
“Like Dead Can Dance, black tape for a blue girl dramatically flirts with symphonic decay.” The Philadelphia City Paper
“Black Tape for a Blue Girl is best described as the poets of the broken spirit, musically and lyrically exploring the heart of the human soul in all of its unavoidable sadness. That may sound like depressing stuff but it is far from it. The quest for the elements of love, of faith and faithfulness, and the essence of happiness as if they were concrete rather than the abstract rudiments of humankind, has been the unrequited search of all time. Given the absolute heartbreak of desire and free will, with all of its choices, most of which bode badly, it is little wonder that the great authors, painters, and composers of all time have devoted lives to the sad song of impossibility with the brush of possibility somewhere hidden. Black Tape explores these dark corners of deception, betrayal, love, hope, and rebirth perhaps more adroitly than any other band. The revisitation of Black Tape for a Blue Girl’s greatest achievement is a great cause for celebration. Works such as are found on this 2CD 20th Anniversary reissue of the classic Remnants of a Deeper Purity are priceless.” -musictap.net
Limited third vinyl double-LP edition available here.
black tape for a blue girl’s achingly beautiful neo-classical, ethereal, darkwave classic is given a 20th anniversary re-release with a bonus disc of additional music. Long droning deep tones overlayed by intense vocals from Oscar and Lucian as well as rich cello and violin arrangements from Vicki and Mera. The results are deeply mesmerizing and melancholy passages. The finished 77-minute album is Black tape’s masterpiece: exquisite and stunning. Wrapped up in the emotions of betrayal and salvation, searching for the deeper fragments of a truer reality — somewhere between sadness and hope — Sam’s words and harmonies weave a soft, opaque veil over a world where feeling is foremost, emotions on the surface, the heart laid bare.
Included on disc 2 are the ultra rare pieces, originally released on the with my sorrow maxi on Italy’s Amplexus label; also featuring 3 live songs recorded at the 1996 Projektfest (the first time live tracks have appeared on a black tape for a blue girl release).
“The ethereal, romantic sounds of Remnants is their richest work so far: tapestries of melancholic, often neo-classical music manifest themselves amidst waves of Rosenthal’s lush keyboards, haunting strings and the vocals of Oscar & Lucian.” – huh magazine
“These songs are remnants of universal feelings that accompany the experience of bonding with another human being and its aftermath – perhaps this is why the group has attained a strong cult following.” – Magnet Magazine
“Absolutely beautiful, bleeding emotion wonderfully portrayed.” – ink19
…from the 1986 album bio:
This album picks up musically where songs like “We watched our sad-eyedangel fall” left off: long droning deep tones overlayed by intense vocals from Oscar and Lucian as well as rich cello and violin arrangements from Vicki and Mera. The results are deeply mesmerizing and melancholy passages that draw from influences as diverse as turn-of-the-century minimalism, Indian classical music and occult dirge-rock. The finished 77-minute album is Black tape’s masterpiece; exquisite and stunning. Wrapped up in the emotions of betrayal and salvation, searching for the deeper fragments of a truer reality — somewhere between sadness and hope — Sam’s words and harmonies weave a soft, opaque veil over a world where feeling is foremost. With this release, Black tape for a blue girl draws together all the diversities of their past ten years, becoming the consummate modern day chamber orchestra whose maestro is our own inner soul.
”Remnants of a deeper purity is an album of rebirth — the internal analysis and exploration that paves the way for a major upheaval. arealignment of balances. searching through the fragments of a past. paringexperiences down to their essence. revealing the deeper core. the shatteredfilaments of truth and experience that will yet re-entwine to form a newhighwire of ecstatic life. the album is the contemplation of betrayal (byothers and of the self), the realization of a subterranean thread linkingthe past to current desire, the revelation of deep personal fears andinsecurities…and the attempt to reintegrate all of this into anindividual who can re-experience life and the beauty of existence. the lingering thought is ‘redefine pure faith’ so that we may yet re-emerge,renewed…” – sam rosenthal
Timeline of Remnants of a deeper purity release formats:
1996 – Original CD release (PRO68). Jewel case in a tuck box with an over-sized 20 page booklet.
2006 – 10th anniversary 2-CD edition (PRO186). Jewel case with a 16-page booklet.
2013 – 2-CD in an ecoWallet, without a booklet. Download a pdf of the full lyric booklet. Includes one additional track (“With My Sorrows – 2013 mix”) on disc 2
2014 – (Disc 1) Remastered edition in ecoWallet. 2CD without a booklet. Disc 1 remastered from the original DAT tapes for the LP & CD release.
2014 – 2-LP first colored vinyl edition of 300. With 8-page album-sized booklet, and CD in paper sleeve.
2016 – 20th anniversary deluxe 2-CD edition (PRO333). In 6-panel Digipak, with 2014 remastered disc 1, 16-page booklet, and sticker.
2018 – 2-LP second colored vinyl edition of 150. With 8-page album-sized booklet, and download code.
Click to Join, hit send, and I’ll add you to the list. – Sam
A monolithic album that must be appreciated for its sheer breadth and scope, and moments of heart-wrenching beauty. Black Tape for a Blue Girl is the flagship band on the Projekt label, a label that specializes in what it calls “darkwave.” Basically, darkwave is lush ambient music with a dark, melancholy outlook. Remnants of a Deeper Purity is probably the best example of that music that Projekt has put out in recent years.
Black Tape has always created emotional music, but not to the levels of exhaustion that Remnants of a Deeper Purity creates. Black Tape/Projekt head honcho Sam Rosenthal described Remnants of a Deeper Purity as a dark thundercloud that comes over you, embraces you, and leaves you in a drained state when it’s over. Remnants of a Deeper Purity is exactly like this. I don’t know what exactly drove Rosenthal to create this piece of work. I don’t want to know, and more importantly, I never what to experience it. Remnants of a Deeper Purity is a collection of tales; tales of betrayal, hope, love lost, and love found. Finally, it ends with a tale of self-discovery.
To present these tales, Rosenthal has crafted a collection of music that would make a modern composer proud. Rosenthal’s darkly ethereal keyboards are still the centerpiece of the music, but they are joined with the beautiful string arrangements of Vicki Richards on violin and Mera Roberts on cello. This reaches its culmination in “For You Will Burn Your Wings Upon The Sun.” Listening to this track, it becomes quite obvious that Rosenthal is a fan of Gavin Bryars and Henryk Gorecki. Some of the movements (yes, this 26-minute epic is comprised of several full-fledged movements) seem to be directly inspired by Gorecki’s “Symphony No. 3,” one of the most supremely beautiful pieces of music ever created. Rosenthal’s keyboards create sounds that can either be sinister and intimidating or be sensitive and vulnerable, as in the beautiful “Again, To Drift (For Veronika).”
The vocals are shared by Oscar Herrera and Lucian. I’ll admit that I’ve never really been to fond of Herrera’s voice, but here, it seems to work. I have no complaints about Lucian’s voice. Her angelic vocals work perfectly in this music, as if presenting the fragile and innocent side of Rosenthal’s storytelling. The lyrics are equally as self-involved as the music. In one song, we hear Herrera spitefully intones “I demand you return all of the love I gave to you. How can I ever trust again… For you have taken my heart and fed it to snakes, this girl who sleeps in the garden of shards.” Sounds like someone got screwed over. But the lyrics are also poignant, as in “I Have No More Answers,” where Lucian sings “Here I stand, all of me before your eyes — no more lies. No more lies. Just me. Pure me. Just me. Real me.” Maybe that’s the defining statement Rosenthal is trying to make here. This is a way he deals with pain and betrayal, to emerge from the darkness as a stronger, more real individual, no longer moaning about how he can’t exist without his lover. Or maybe I’m getting too caught up in the moment.
At times it’s pretentious: very pretentious. It sounds like a glorified version of simply listening to a friend whine and complain about their girlfriend, or lack of one. And who wants that, right? Sometimes, when you’re in the wrong mood, the songs are overly dramatic, even silly. But by its very nature, Remnants of a Deeper Purity is a breathtaking, lush, and beautifully presented piece of work. It’s a dense, thick work that requires a great deal of listening and understanding to get its delights.
But when you’re in the mood, and you feel like no one in the world loves you and you’ll always be alone, then there is no better album in the world to listen to. It is oppressing and intimidating, but it is a monolithic album that must be appreciated for its sheer breadth and scope, and moments of heartwrenching beauty. Very few works in the genre will compare to it, and it may well take an act of divine intervention for Black Tape for a Blue Girl to follow this one up.
Reviews Editor –
From The Washington Post
Devotees of more upscale forms of bombast may scoff at goth (or “darkwave”), but there’s little on Black Tape for a Blue Girl’s Remnants of a Deeper Purity that’s more lugubrious than a typical passage from Berlioz or Richard Strauss. Indeed, the 22-minute “For You Will Burn Your Wings Upon the Sun” is very much the symphonic tone poem, all straining strings and morose melody. And, since the group has neither a bassist nor a drummer, there are none of those annoying rhythms to irk the symphonic buff.
Despite the violin, cello and harmonium, this quintet is equally indebted to the moody late-’60s art-folk of Leonard Cohen and Pearls Before Swine. Unfortunately, songwriter Sam Rosenthal has none of Cohen’s literary prowess. His lyrics read like a cross between Victorian doggerel and literary soft porn: “If only I could capture the essence of purity/ Reawaken me, entranced by flesh and lace.” Clearly, it’s just as well that such compositions as “Fin de Siecle” and the title song consist primarily of crypto-classical flourishes and pseudo-churchly vocal arrangements.
Reviews Editor –
A review from Lollipop
Dusk. A slow hush falls over my roon as the sun sinks down into the outlines of the buildings. White smoke drifts gently up from my slightly stained fingers, as I gaze out into the quiet vermillions and crimsons that streak the sky. Soon, the rush will start again, but for now, it is just myself and the new CD from Black Tape for A Blue Girl. Even with Lucian Casselman’s soaring soprano voice, Remnants For A Deeper Purity is hardly to be considered “Ethereal Goth.” The music is far too grounded to be slighted in that matter. I step closer to the window and look out at the approaching night. Inhaling softly, I take in the seductive violin of Vicki Richards and the deep silky tenor of Oscar Herrera. They sing about loss, about loneliness, about “a thosand tear stained memories.” my hand reaches out, strokes the windowpane. Somewhere out there, a disapointed spirit wait for a firm embrace, a half-smile, a secong glance. Bold percussions enters, makes the mind wander to fields of barley, of cloud scratching mountains. Brass like an ocean’s tide wash in and out, causing me to sway gently, like a strand of wind. The night grows colder, a piano signals the coming of tender pain, a heart’s abandonment. Black Tape For A Blue Girl settles me down for another night’s exploration.
– Angela Dauthi
Reviews Editor –
A review from Ink 19
Honestly, over the years I’ve had mixed feelings bout this ethereal/gothic project. Some songs I’d really like, some songs I’d just completely hate. Seeing them live at the ’96 Projekt festival finally did it for me, though. Watching them perform made me understand a little bit more where they were coming from, therefore letting me appreciate their music much more. And now their new album. I’m not quite sure if it’s because of the experience I had in Chigago at the festival that I like this so much or simply because it is such a good album. Either way, I completely adore this. Sam Rosenthal’s electronics generate warm, thickly texured layers of atmospheres that carry unbelievable amounts of emotion, as do Oscar Herrera and Lucian Casselman’s vocals, Mera Roberts’ cello, and Vicki Richards’ violin. All of it blends perfectly into a sumptuous tapestry that portrays a wide range of emotion, but generally stays close to the melancholy. The scope of this album is also very impressive. It flows beautifully – all 77 minutes of it. My favorite track is “For You Will Burn Your WIngs Upon The Sun,” which also happens to be the longest, clocking in at a little over 26 minutes. Nowhere does it become tedious. This is Sam’s most ambitious project yet and, in my opinion, his most successful one. Absolutely beautiful, bleeding emotion wonderfully portrayed.
Reviews Editor –
A review from All Music
For the first time since the earliest recordings, Sam Rosenthal assembles and employs a set combination of musicians throughout a Black Tape for a Blue Girl album, with Oscar Herrera and Lucian Casselman returning on vocals and other instruments, along with longtime associate Vicki Richards on violin and Mera Roberts on cello. The end result succeeds like no other Black Tape release before it, the logical extension of Rosenthal’s musical and lyrical foci into a lengthy, commanding, and beautiful experience. Using the two string players throughout with his electronics in a carefully blended effort, punching up the general orchestral heft of his music to new heights, Rosenthal’s work this time hits a consistently rich vein; the connections to rock music have never been so tenuous, and to progressive and electronic efforts so strong. Two of Herrera’s performances deserve special notice: “With My Sorrows,” ending with a captivating quick take on an old Spanish poem, and “For You Will Burn Your Wings Upon the Sun,” a nearly 30-minute piece with Herrera’s brief vocal section providing the central punch of the track. But Casselman steals the show with the final track, “I Have No More Answers” — a simply perfect mix of the strings, vast-sounding electronic atmospherics, and piano with Casselman’s lovely voice singing an especially touching Rosenthal lyric, it is Black Tape’s finest song yet. – Ned Raggett
Reviews Editor –
A review from Rock Line
Un eterno splendore, una perfetta via di mezzo tra l’ascendere in paradisi di suoni e profumi e il calarsi in profondità informi e dal tenebroso colorito: penso che nessun gruppo nella storia della musica contemporanea sia riuscito ad incarnare tali aspetti con la grazia e l’eleganza dei Black Tape for a Blue Girl, la creatura musicale sognata da Sam Rosenthal, l’instancabile viaggio che si compie non appena ci si avvicina alla maestosità espressiva di tale musica. Con bellezza interiore e splendore emotivo i BTfaBG hanno (silenziosamente) rivoluzionato il mondo e la concezione della musica dark, espandendo i suoi confini a livelli mai raggiunti prima, arricchendo e trasformando il nucleo oscuro di questa musica con un raffinato retrogusto classico, deformando la modernità dell’ambient a tinte scure con eleganti riferimenti alla musica da camera dei secoli passati. Una miscela di una grandiosità unica, costruita e strutturata dalla sognante mente di Rosenthal, compositore affascinante e ricercato, tanto quanto i pensieri che egli stesso tramuta in musica.
Ma, in realtà, prima di raggiungere la vetta del capolavoro, la cima innevata dallo splendore sonoro, Rosenthal di strada ne ha dovuta fare, incominciando a gettare le basi del progetto con i primi lavori The Rope, Before the Buildings Fell (1986) e Mesmerized by the Sirens (1987), arricchendone le sfumature con A Chaos of Desire (1991) e This Lush Garden Within (1993) prima di giungere a quell’immortale perla che porta il nome di Remnants of a Deeper Purity, un disco che, nonostante sia stato prodotto troppo tardi per essere definito un “classico”, ha tutte le caratteristiche per rimanere immortalato come un’opera senza tempo. Questo per due motivi: innanzitutto perchè le note, le emozioni, i colori e le atmosfere brillano di una particolarità unica, mai creata prima, irripetuta e, penso, irripetibile, secondo perchè si tratta di un album che ha gettato le basi per una nuova visione della musica d’ambiente, più profonda e decisamente meno vincolata agli stilemi del genere.
Quando poi il disco parte incominciano a sgorgare timide lacrime: Redifine Pure Faith, con il suo andamento lento e ovattato, è una perla di buia quiete, una danza morta addormentata nella notte più scura che trascina dentro i suoi fiumi mistici diretti da un equilibrata commistione di voci ed effetti elettronici dal sapore fortemente malinconico. E se con la opener la malinconia incomincia solo a venir fuori, con Fin De Siecle e With My Sorrows allora essa esplode in cascate di un’intensità unica, attraverso giochi ambient costellati da voci suadenti (Lucian Casselman e Oscar Herrera solo per fare i nomi) e da raffinati intrecci strumentali che arricchiscono questo incontro/contrasto tra sonorità classiche e moderne.
Ad esasperare quest’aspetto ci pensa poi la sublime For You Will Burn Your Wings Upon the Sun, colosso di 26 minuti che in realtà potrebbe durare anche interi giorni senza riuscire ad annoiare minimamente: si tratta infatti di una suite orchestrale di rara bellezza, poeticamente decorata dal violino di Viki Richards e dal violoncello di Mera Roberts, immersa in un’atmosfera solitaria e rarefatta, incredibilmente accogliente nonostante i suoi cieli così scuri e privi di qualsiasi luce stellare; sembra come se la musica di Rosenthal diventasse una nido notturno in cui si cullano i sonnambuli vivendo i sogni deformati della loro stessa anima. Nei vellutati contorni artistici dei Black Tape for a Blue Girl si disperde il nichilismo tipico del dark a favore di una religiosità paradossalmente Sartriana, con Rosenthal che diventa un filosofo del negativo impegnato nell’immergere i panni dell’animo umano in un lago “di una più profonda purezza” attraverso cui rimuovere e cancellare il peccato e le gabbie dell’uomo stesso, facendolo rinascere come un essere nuovo e veramente puro.
Un bagno dell’anima che continua ad avvolgere la nostra pelle con i lontani echi di Wings Tattered, Fallen, i poetici versi di Fitful ed Again, to Drift, oniriche e ipnotiche nella loro immensa prateria emotiva, e con i più vigorosi refrain dell’omonima Remnants of a Deeper Purity in cui la struttura strumentale si rinforza con chitarre acustiche, tamburelli e il solito ensamble violino/violoncello per una canzone dalle toccanti sfumature.
Quando poi I Have No More Answers chiude il sipario di questa tragedia musicale con le sue prolungate ripetizioni e la fluidità del suo andamento, sembra come se qualcosa si fosse smaterializzato all’interno della nostra anima; una sorta di purificazione, di eliminazione delle colpe e dei peccati, una discesa nelle nostre più recondite profondità e allo stesso tempo un’elevazione interiore senza confini.
Uno spazio eternamente bianco, ornato quà e là dalle cornici dei nostri sogni e dei nostri pensieri. Sembra come se Rosenthal avesse dipinto l’atto d’abbandono supremo dell’anima umana, questo ripiegarsi dentro se stessi e poi esplodere nel silenzio, puri e diafani, come il cielo mattutino che si scrolla di dosso gli incubi della piovosa notte precedente. Ma nella musica dei BTfaBG vi sono anche solitudine, malinconia, tristezza e inquietudine, stati d’animo che Rosenthal ritrae con una posa elegante ed estremamente riflessiva, lasciando fluire dal suo essere un introspettivo canto immerso nella purezza più assoluta. Remnants of a Deeper Purity è poesia, incanto, passione, un decadente fotogramma delle contraddizioni e dei labirinti dell’uomo ma allo stesso tempo un’evasione totale dal mondo, dalla vita stessa; un limbo in cui nulla più è udibile se non questo libero e slegato susseguirsi di voci e suoni. L’abbandonarsi a questa poesia è sicuramente una delle cose più belle che la musica moderna ci abbia mai donato nell’ultima fase della sua esistenza: ascoltarlo vuol dire trascendere dal reale e venir risucchiati dai “Remnants of a Deeper Purity” che nella nostra anima attendono soltanto di essere risvegliati. Pietra miliare, e non solo della musica. Rating: 9.5/10 -Paolo Bellipanni
Reviews Editor –
A review from Unscene
I was sitting by the sea on a cold autumn morning when I first listened to this double album. It suited my mood perfectly. Things had been difficult for a while and this brief respite was exactly what I needed. The music calmed me as it focused my emotions. I might have been filled with loss, sadness and regret, but hearing these feelings expressed through the ambient soundscapes helped me realise that I am not alone in feeling these things. As I gazed out over the sea, filled with the reflection of the rising sun I heard a deep-voiced melancholy man mourn: “In the sea is a tower, with a window where she waits, she sleeps alone…” I instantly knew how he felt. Elsewhere violin, cello, guitar and electronics blend to create the perfect soundtrack to my more introspective moments. Though the first disc was released ten years ago, it hasn’t dated. How could something that sounds so timeless ever do so? The second disc which features rare material from the same period is as good as the main attraction. -Stuart Moses
Reviews Editor –
A review from Spectrum Culture
2013 — 13 best goth albums of all time.
#7 Remnants of a Deeper Purity (1996)
Of all the albums on this list, none are more fragile or beautiful than Black Tape for a Blue Girl’s Remnants of a Deeper Purity. Fronted by Sam Rosenthal, the record is home to a host of long, challenging songs, including 26 minute centerpiece “For You Will Burn Your Wings upon the Sun.” Blending synths with Vicki Richards’ violin and Mera Roberts’ cello, Rosenthal has created something more than rock music. If ethereal had a sound, Remnants would be it. Featuring Oscar Herrera and Lucian Casselman on vocals, these nine songs are goth to the core: they are darkly beautiful, aching and melancholy. By the time album closer “I Have No More Answers” comes to an end, you feel that Rosenthal has taken you on a journey, floating you through a realm of shadowy sadness and an electronic atmosphere that stretches out forever. – David Harris
Reviews Editor –
A review from OndaRock
PIETRA MILIARE | “Tracce di una purezza più profonda”: possiamo tradurre così il titolo di questo disco dei Black Tape For A Blue Girl, che un solo aggettivo può definire appieno: immenso. E questo perché siamo di fronte a uno dei momenti più “abissali” di tutta la storia della musica, uno di quei momenti in cui tutte le possibili implicazioni terrene del nostro vagabondare assumono connotati più “originari”, e, per l’appunto, di una purezza più essenziale. Si ha come l’impressione che tra i meandri di questo sublime gesto artistico (in senso brechtiano), la musica ritorni alla sua unica verità: quella per cui essa diventa totalmente e assolutamente voce autentica del fondo oscuro e caotico che sostiene l’accadere inquietante dell’esistenza. Le composizioni di Sam Rosenthal, infatti, sembrano rivelare l’intensità e l’eternità del fuoco che si agita sotto la superficie apparentemente placida del reale. La forma canzone, allora, viene dissolta dal turbinio apocalittico di un formato musicale che deriva, per sintesi successive, dalla perfetta compenetrazione tra la sensibilità dark e l’austerità della musica classica da camera. Su questo canovaccio di base, si inseriscono le voci solenni di “cantanti” come Oscar Herrera e Lucian Casselman, meravigliosamente a loro agio in queste accecanti partiture d’ignoto.
Il punto più basso – nel senso di “profondo” – di questo rituale dell’assoluto e del misterioso lo si ha nei 26 minuti di “For You Will Burn Your Wings Upon The Sun”, una drammatica discesa, in 5 parti, nei labirinti dell’anima umana. In uno spazio desolato e arcano si diffondono i droni minacciosi delle tastiere, mentre il violino di Vicky Richards inizia la sua abbacinante danza sull’orlo del precipizio. Le voci dei due sciamani dell’assoluto imbastiscono un magma ipnotico di emozioni, prima di essere risucchiate dal vuoto cosmico. Anche il violoncello di Mera Roberts contribuisce ad aumentare il senso di debordante pathos che si respira un po’ dovunque.
La terza parte di questo delirio estatico spinge il grumo sonoro verso gli estremi più insondati dell’universo, in un vortice ancestrale fatto di imperscrutabili simboli divini, nella cui contemplazione si raccoglie “Wings Tattered, Fallen”, un esercizio di ambient dai sottili connotati mistici. L’incanto magniloquente di “Redifine Pure Faith” si chiude con una tenera sonata per pianoforte, preludio alla dolcezza venata di tragedia di “Fin De Siécle”. “With My Sorrows” è un’ altra grande prova vocale di Herrera, mentre “Fitful” ripropone bagliori cosmici con tanto di voce (Casselman) “trattata”. L’unico brano che si avvicina alla forma-canzone tradizionale è la title track, anche se in un modo del tutto particolare. Le dolenti note di piano di “Again, To Drift (For Veronika)” rinsaldano, invece, i non tenui legami con certe cose della new-age più trasognata. A questo punto, non resta altro che il minimalismo di “I Have No More Answers”, in cui la Casselman raggiunge una delle punte più alte del suo declamare sofferto. La lunga coda fatta di droni e di echi soffusi è lo spazio aperto sulla radura del mondo, osservato senza pregiudizi e senza paura, ma con una mestizia infinita, e senza redenzione alcuna.
La filosofia “negativa” di Rosenthal ha trovato il suo corrispettivo artistico più intenso in questi 77 minuti di indelebili emozioni, confermando, tra l’altro, il vecchio assioma secondo cui l’arte è la sola cura capace di porre rimedio alla malattia dell’esistenza. La caduta nel tempo – di cui parlava Cioran – ha sì condannato l’uomo all’esperienza della propria fragilità, ma, di rimando, gli ha conferito anche la possibilità di poter sondare il suo mistero, in vista di un tentativo chiarificatore dell’arcano della vita. Questo tentativo, destinato al fallimento proprio perché condotto da un’ottica umana e, quindi, “finita”, ha il suo momento cardine nell’attimo della creazione, il cui unico scopo è quello di lasciare che la Verità si dia come “evento”, e che, dunque, sia accessibile all’uomo (anche se solo per pochi, infinitesimali attimi…). Di tutto ciò, Remnants Of A Deeper Purity è esempio lampante, maestoso, indimenticabile. -Francesco Nunziata
Reviews Editor –
A review from Music TAP
Remnants of a Deeper Purity is a genuine classic!!
Black Tape for a Blue Girl is best described as the poets of the broken spirit, musically and lyrically exploring the heart of the human soul in all of its unavoidable sadness. That may sound like depressing stuff but it is far from it. The quest for the elements of love, of faith and faithfulness, and the essence of happiness as if they were concrete rather than the abstract rudiments of humankind, has been the unrequited search of all time. Given the absolute heartbreak of desire and free will, with all of its choices, most of which bode badly, it is little wonder that the great authors, painters, and composers of all time have devoted lives to the sad song of impossibility with the brush of possibility somewhere hidden. Black Tape explores these dark corners of deception, betrayal, love, hope, and rebirth perhaps more adroitly than any other band.
Remnants of a Deeper Purity was released by Black Tape for a Blue Girl in 1996 with 9 tracks of poetics afloat on layers of electronics and strings, incorporating chant, classical components, and expressive heart-rending vocals, resulting in a beautiful album that is yet to be challenged.
With this new re-issue, Projekt brings the searching depths of Remnants in touch with 8 extra tracks on a second disc, thus making this reissue a collector’s ‘must-have.’ In 1996, the band was approached by Amplexus, a label in Italy, asking for songs to be included in a limited edition series. “With My Sorrows, Pt 2” and “With My Sorrows, Pt 3,” both extensions of “For you will burn your wings upon the sun,” because of the multiple sections of strings found on that song, although using the words from the original track of “With my sorrows” also found on Remnants. Both bonus tracks carry the profoundness of the original song into new spaces. Both are dark shades of emotion with “With My Sorrows, Pt 3” taking on additional elements to make the song even darker in scope, an exploration into the deep pit of a broken heart.
Added bonus tracks include a traditional arrangement, “En La Mar Ay Una Torre,” the radio edit of “I Have No More Answers,” 3 live tracks of songs from the original album performed by Black Tape for a Blue Girl at ProjektFest 96, and remix of “Across A Thousand Blades (96),” before found only in the Goth Box compilation from Cleopatra Records.
The revisitation of Black Tape for a Blue Girl’s greatest achievement, Remnants of a Deeper Purity , is a great cause for celebration. With many classics being given the Expanded Special Edition lately, it is only right that the timeless, heartbreaking beauty of Remnants be given the same respect. Works such as is found on this 2CD 10th Anniversary reissue of the classic Remnants of a Deeper Purity are priceless.
Reviews Editor –
A review from Losing Today
Sono passati dieci anni e “Remnants Of A Deeper Purity” rimane il capolavoro insuperato dei Black Tape For A Blue Girl, nonché una delle pietre miliari di tutta la musica darkwave. Per l’occasione Sam Rosenthal, label boss della Projekt, ha deciso di ristampare quel disco aggiungendo un secondo cd pieno di rarità.
Nel 1996 i BTFABG avevano già una carriera decennale alle spalle e una mezza dozzina di ottimi album di darkwave influenzati tanto dalle stelle più brillanti della costellazione 4AD quanto dai corrieri cosmici alla Tangerne Dream. Ma con “Remnants Of A Deeper Purity” qualcosa iniziò a cambiare. A partire dai musicisti che cominciarono ad accompagnare Sam sia in studio che dal vivo: non più gli amici e i colleghi presi in prestito dai gruppi dicasa alla Projekt ma veri e propri musicisti da impiegare in pianta stabile nel gruppo. A tutti gli effetti una rinascita. Sottolineata dal violino di Vicky Richards e dal violoncello di Mera Roberts, i due strumenti che caratterizzano in modo preponderante la maggior parte delle composizioni del nuovo album. E poi la voce baritonale di Oscar Herrera, già ascoltato in verità in precedenza, ma ora finalmente a suo agio nel ruolo di primo attore.
Essenziale ai fini della riuscita di “Remnants Of A Deeper Purity” l’alternanza tra la voce profonda di Herrera e quella eterea di Lucian Casselman, che con il suo tono sospeso porta tra le nuvole alcuni dei capolavori dell’album, “fin de siecle”, “wings tattered, fallen”, “fitful” e la conclusiva “i have no more answers”. Oceani di suono si distendono sotto la sua voce definendo momenti di bellezza ammaliante. Più vicini al concetto classico di canzone i brani cantati da Herrera che definiscono, in qualche modo, la rotta per i dischi a venire (“redefine pure faith”, “remnants of a deeper purity”).
La composizione più ardita dell’album è “for you will burn your wings upon the sun” con i suoi ventisei e passa minuti di durata. Una sinfonia darkwave in quattro movimenti in cui si esaltano le doti di arrangiatrici di Vicky e Mera. Prima della fine Sam Rosenthal si prende il tempo per registrare un pezzo strumentale di una bellezza struggente, “again, to drift (for veronica)”, tra note di pianoforte leggere come lacrime e respiri di fata confortanti come carezze.
Della stessa grazia risuona “with my sorrows (part3)”, una delle due composizioni che uscirono dieci anni fa su un mini cd 3” pubblicato in un’elegante confezione cartonata dall’italiana Amplexus di Stefano Gentile, e ora riproposti nel bonus cd che accompagna questa ristampa. Insieme alle due “with my sorrows” il ‘disc two’ raccoglie quanto rimasto fuori dai 77 minuti di “Remnants Of A Deeper Purity” e pubblicato allora su un mini-cd, e in più ben tre versioni live inedite di altrettante canzoni del repertorio dei BTFABG. -Roberto Mandolini
Reviews Editor –
A review from Liar Society
Black Tape for a Blue Girl’s Remnants of a Deeper Purity is one of the few darkwave albums that has managed to reach the status of a modern classic. On this record Black Tape for a Blue Girl first managed the flawless alchemical fusion of violin, cello, synths, and ethereal vocals into a hazy, shimmering tapestry of sound. Majestically epic, the songs on Remnants of a Deeper Purity do not lend themselves well to club play or individual consideration; each song is a piece of the greater whole, building on what has come previously to create a seamless aesthetic movement. The mood is mournful, the sonic personification of regret, that peaks with the extended meditation of “For You Will Burn Your Wings Upon the Sun.” The rise and fall painted by Sam Rosenthal’s lyrics reminds me of the themes common to the Decadent literature of the 19th century: the over-reaching desire for abandon ultimately leads to the downward spiral of self-betrayal and disappointment.
For the tenth anniversary of Remnants of a Deep Purity’s release, Projekt has re-issued the album with a second disc that contains re-workings and material from the same era, three beautiful live tracks, and the 1996 version of “Across a Thousand Blades,” all for the sum of a regularly-priced album. The extra material is just as brilliant as the main offering; this is truly an essential addition to any discerning collection. 5 out of 5. -Jack
Reviews Editor –
A review from High Bias
Remnants of a Deeper Purity, the breakthrough album by unclassifiable ensemble black tape for a blue girl, turns ten this year. To celebrate, black tape leader/Projekt majordomo Sam Rosenthal presents this 10th anniversary edition, with a remastered album and an extra disk of rarities, remixes and alternate versions. This is the album on which black tape’s fusion of electronics and strings, Gothic pop and classical art song, really coalesced into something outside the parameters of what had come before in the dark music arena. “Wings Tattered, Fallen,” “With My Sorrows” and the title track mix melancholic sentiments with ethereal beauty into a shimmering atmosphere that cultivates the lovely dawn after a night of heavy drinking. The centerpiece of the album is the nearly half-hour long “For You Will Burn Your Wings Upon the Sun,” which scans like a black metal anthem, but is instead a quietly meditative piece that nurses the anger over a broken heart with black coffee instead of sulfuric acid. Proof that musical catharsis doesn’t require screaming and distortion to be effective.
The second disk has a lovely arrangement of an old Sephardic tune called “En La Mar Ay Una Torre,” some instrumental remixes and, best of all, some live tracks, just in case anyone thought this music was studiobound. -Michael Toland
Reviews Editor –
A review from Gothtronic
When you listen to Remnants of a Deeper Purity it becomes clear that this band has had a tremendous development over the course of the years. Black Tape For A Blue Girl has developed from a Dead Can Dance like ethereal neo-classical gothic band into a band that currently transcends various genres and found a niche of it’s own at the intersection of ambient, gothic and worldmusic. Their sad and majestic style in the first 10 years of the band would become the blueprint for the US Projekt label, led by Black Tape For A Blue Girl’s Sam Rosenthal. On this re-release of the album Remnants of a Deeper Purity, in celebration of the 10 year existance of the band, and originally released in 1996, it shows how distinct their sound was in these days. A mixture of ambient and neo-classical gothic. Majestic, intellectual and ethereal are keywords one can match with it. There are musical comparisons to Stoa and Dead Can Dance.
All compositions have been made by composer and electronica specialist Sam Rosenthal, whilst Lucian Casselman and Oscar Herrera deliver the vocal parts, Vicky Richards plays the violin and Mera Roberts the cello. ‘With My Sorrows’ is a extremely beautiful piece of music, with a melody made by Oscar and the Sephardic song ‘en la mar ay una torre’ processed in it. ‘Fin de Siècle’ has passages that are strongly inspired by the diary letters of Anaïs Nin. ‘For You Will Burn Your Wings Upon The Sun’ has very beautiful violin passages that at times add an Oriental atmosphere to the neo-classical ambient spheres.
The atmosphere is very fragile at moments, such as can be heard in ‘Wings Tattered, Fallen’. Harmonic vocals can be found in the pop-like titletrack ‘Remnants of a Deeper Purity’. The second cd of this special edition of Remnants of a Deeper Purity consists of recordings in which the original compositions are stripped to the string parts solely which creates an intensity and passion that almost transforms it to completely new compositions.
This special re-issue is a real recommendation to fans as well as people that are not familiar with the beautiful music of Black Tape For A Blue Girl.
Reviews Editor –
A review from Gothic Paradise
It is truly a pleasure to be able to have this special 10-year anniversary release and to be able to review it here. Right up front I’ll say that there is no way I can adequately express how great this album really is. I was introduced to it originally shortly after it’s release by hearing the title track and immediately picked it up and have never had a moment of doubt or disappointment since then. It easily fits in to my all-time top 10 list of favorite albums. So now, it’s a special treat to have this special edition version which not only includes the original CD but a bonus disc with 9 bonus tracks.
Starting with the first and original disc from this album we’re treated with “Redefine Pure Faith”, with its slow, pulsing sound that just oozes with emotion and sincerity that you can literally feeel through the music. Oscar Herrera lends his stunning tenor vocals to this track with pure perfection, delivering Sam’s lyrics as only he can do with the occasional, beautiful siren vocals of Lucian Casselman harmonizing in the background. Every bit of this song is a masterpiece from the slow introduction, the electronics, cello and even to the final outro piano piece. This brings us to “Fin de Siecle” on which Lucian takes the lead on vocals and Oscar provides backup while the musical arrangement brings the ambient and orchestral elements out as the dominating sound through spatialized echos, all creating an absolutely mesmerizing and dreamy atmosphere.
At this point we’re brought back to the original mood and style on “With My Sorrows” which quickly became a favorite track. This piece once again brings out so many facets of what great ethereal music is all about and also breaks down some of the stereotypes as well, such as a great male tenor vocalist can bring out just as much of the ethereal mood as a haunting muse might be able to. The addition of spanish lyrics at the end of the track is a really nice touch as well, which fits in perfectly with the underlying mood. But overall, the lyrical and vocal content layered over the electronics, cello and violin is just stunning on this piece. This is a great time to introduce the wonderful violinist Vicki Richards and cellist Mera Roberts, both of which have excellent talents that come out so well on this and many other pieces on this album.
“For you will burn your wings upon the sun” is an enigmatic track in itself, containing percussion which is a rare addition for this album and when I first heard this piece I was in awe of how captivating a track that is literally over 26 minutes long can be. It’s broken down into five basic parts, the first being what you could easily extract for a “radio edit” or what we’ve heard at their live performances containing the lyrics and vocals, which in themselves are awe-inspiring with the raw emotion and sense of betrayal they contain. After this first part draws to a close the second part takes over which is all instrumental and begins with its deep, droning cello and electronics with the violin bringing out much of the melody. This slowly fades after a few minutes and we’re brought to the third part which introduces a slightly different style that doesn’t flow the same way but introduces some soft guitar strumming. The fourth part reverts back closely resembling the previous flowing style of orchestral and electronic arrangements which eventually fade into the fifth and final arrangement that provides a sense of finality as it wraps up the last minute or so of this piece.
The ambient soundscapes really come out in “Wings tattered, fallen” with an overall portrayal much like “Fin de Siecle” with a feeling of floating through the ether while Lucian’s vocals hold you enraptured. The music, lyrics and vocals blend so well on this song to give an overall feeling of sadness and longing that could make anyone nostalgic. “Fitfull” is another instrumental piece which relies heavily on ambient textures that build and flow, adding layer upon layer including vocal samples that brings out imagery of a chorus of angels singing. This brings us to the title track and my first true introduction to this group and this album. “Remnants of a deeper purity” is the perfect title for this piece and the album as portrayed through the lyrics and awesome musical arrangements. This song is unique in its entire composition, featuring some steady guitar strumming, tambourine and harmonized male vocals while angelic female vocals hang in the air like a waving shear tapestry in the cool breeze.
“Again, to drift (for Veronika)” is another instrumental piece featuring a beautiful piano arrangement accented by beautiful, soaring synthesized strings. I can never get enough of this piece, the title explains it so well, drifting along to the mesmerizing music is exactly what the listener does when listening to this song. This provides an excellent segue into the finale on this album, “I have no more answers”. Again, the listener is enveloped in the thick emotional moods of pain, longing, sadness… unanswered questions. These are portrayed not only through the lyrics, but once again, the music and vocals come together as one and provide the substance of this piece, finalizing the disc and leaving the listener just begging for more.
This feeling of wanting more is exactly what I was thinking after I heard this album, so then I picked up everything ever recorded as Black Tape for a Blue Girl, and now we have this second bonus disc to enjoy as well. While it doesn’t really bring out anything really “new” per se, it has some great material on it. “en la mar ay una torre” is an extract from “with my sorrows” of Oscar singing the spanish part accapella, and done so well as only he can do. “with my sorrows (part 2)” again features Oscar doing a short excerpt from the original track and then drifting off into various instrumental excerpts. “with my sorrows (part 3)” is not quite 100% instrumental with some vocal arrangements without lyrics are presented, again featuring these excerpts and “remixes” from the original pieces. Also present is the “radio edit” of “I have no more answers”, which is a nice, shorter excerpt from the original.
At this point we reach the three live tracks which are all presented well. If the reader has ever been to a live show from this group, it’s amazing how well this finely orchestrated music can be performed live with a handful of instruments and just a few pre-recorded electronic tracks. “redefine pure faith”, “through sky blue rooms” and “remnants of a deeper purity” are all presented in true form and recorded in front of a live audience.
“Across a thousand blades” may be the most well-known song from this band because of its appearance on various compilations and its club-friendly structure. The version presented on this disc is the same appearing on the Goth Box compilation with some excellent guitars and drums. The final track is not listed on the tracklist or sleave anywhere and is actually so subtle that unless you really listen for 30 seconds or so, you’ll probably miss it. It’s just a short piece, another extract from the instrumental on the original disc and arranged into something of an epilogue or outro to the disc. And that wraps it up, another beautiful and astounding work from this group to be cherished for many years to come. Rating: 5/5
Reviews Editor –
A review from Gothic Beauty
I’ve always admired the venerable and unclassifiable outlet that is Black Tape for a Blue Girl, but I’ve also felt like an outsider. Most of their music seemed so willing to follow every meandering thought and feeling that pervaded its abstract space that it could barely be heard without confusion or despair. So the opportunity to revisit Remnants on its tenth anniversary was destined to go one of two ways. Wonderfully, the album seduced me before the end of the third track, and my attention was involved in its contemplative and passionate world which is lavishly illustrated with violin, cello, and layers of liquid harmonics. Long-time Black Tape fans will want this reissue, as it also contains a second disc of rare recordings that reveal some exploratory work beyond the album versions. But if you, too, have felt you couldn’t “get” Black Tape before, try this album on its second time around. -Carolee
Reviews Editor –
A review from Bliss Aquamarine
10th anniversary reissue of this album, which comes with a bonus disc of remixes, live tracks, and new tracks that evolved out of stripped down versions of tracks from the album. The album captures the essence of the Projekt label, bringing together the various sounds Projekt is known for: dark gothic moods, ethereal washes of sound, and classical/operatic sophistication, along with elements of Middle Eastern and Spanish music, dark electronic, ambient and experimental music, resulting in a rich, complex musical creation where the various ingredients are seamlessly blended, proving that it is perfectly possible to create music from an eclectic selection of genres which does not become an incoherent hotchpotch. You Will Burn Your Wings Upon The Sun lasts for an epic 26 minutes, culminating in a sombre neoclassical composition. The title track is a melodic song of great beauty, which would perhaps be best described as ‘gothic neoclassical folk’. Fitful combines ambient, modern classical and experimental elements to create a perfectly woven tapestry of atmospheric sound.
Unlike the popular perception of remixes making a whole new genre – usually dance-based – out of the original track, the tracks on the bonus disc here reshape the original material in a way that is completely in the spirit of the original material; different from it yet wholly in tune with it. Also on the bonus CD is a remix of Across A Thousand Blades, which is not a track from Remnants of a Deeper Purity and differs stylistically from the overall feel of the album, favouring a more rock approach. -Kim Harten