Okay metal-heads, prog-freaks and jazz junkies – it's time to open up your mind to something new!
Perhaps it isn't really all that new, since Black Tape For A Blue Girl has been around since 1986. But it certainly is different. Sam Rosenthal founded Project Records around 1983, and using his band as a vehicle, Rosenthal and Projekt pioneered a sub-genre of gothic rock called 'darkwave'. It is a mournful sound, with ethereal, ambient soundscapes tinged by new age and progressive music.
The band has been through countless lineup changes, the music has evolved over the years, and after building a discography of more than a dozen releases Rosenthal has finally released this "Best Of" anthology. But With a Million Tear Stained Memories is more than just a re-release of old songs. This limited edition contains remixes and reworks, and the double-CD has been divided into two distinctly different bodies of work: Disc 1 is the "Vocal Side", and disc 2 is the "Instrumental Side".
The instrumental disc may take some work to appreciate if you aren't already a fan of swirling, ambient music. It is an interesting combination of spacey electronica and classical instruments such as violin, cello, dulcimer, piano, guitars and the flute of Sam's wife Lisa Feuer. This is brooding, valium-tinged melancholy music which will stir the soul and intrigue the mind. If it doesn't put you to sleep. You see, if you're not a fan of space music, you might be frustrated by the fact that the music doesn't go anywhere – it has no defined objective, and it never builds up to anything. This is mood music – its purpose is to create swirls and eddies in your consciousness and let the moods flow where they will.
The standout track on the instrumental disc is the Steve Roach remix of "Kinski" from The Scavenger Bride.
The vocal disc will find a home in the regular rotation of a far wider community of music lovers. Yes, there are passages of those spacey sounds, but the singing and the lyrics give the music more purpose than anything you'll find on the instrumental disc. And because the tracks are selected from 18 years of music, there's an interesting diversity in styles, voices and maturity. The singing is typically in the mid-ranges, with strong, melodic projection, and accompanied by instrumentation that ranges from free flowing classically influenced electronica through to the more standard rock ensemble. It is on this disc that you'll find those new age influences, although it's more ballsy than most records from that genre. The songs are haunting and beautiful and have that quality that encourages you to play them again and again.
The music on this double album is captivating and imaginative, but the production does not permit the true qualities to shine through. There is little separation of instruments, and you sometimes have to listen and re-listen to favorite passages to uncover the hidden gems.
Well recommended for the adventurous listener.
Disc 1 The Vocal Tracks
Disc 2 The Instrumental Tracks
- Memory, Uncaring Friend 2003 Version
- The Broken Glass
- Could I Stay The Honest One? 1998 Acoustic Version
- Ashes In The Brittle Air
- Griffith Park
- Scream, My Shallow
- The Flow Of Our Spirit
- Wings Tattered, Fallen
- The Holy Terrors
- Your One Wish
- One Last Breath
- Overwhelmed, Beneath Me 2000 Version
- Floats In The Updrafts
- Tear Love From My Mind
- With My Sorrows
- Bastille Day, 1961
- Kinski - Steve Roachremix
- With A Million Tears
- For You Will Burn Your Wings Upon The Sun Part 4
- Like A Dog / Letter To Brod Part 1
- The Apotheosis
- The Green Box
- The Christ In The Desert
- Slow Blur
- Das Liselottenbett
- Dark Skinned And Inviting
- Beneath The Icy Floe
- We Watched Our Sad-Eyed Angel Fall