black tape for a blue girl : to touch the milky way [projekt.com]
from its inception music from the empty quarter and the glorious output of projekt records were intertwined. a constant stream of fully-focused, mesmeric and passionate music graced the pages throughout its existence, none more so than those sounds from the unrivalled label maker and his own black tape for a blue girl project. for those unaware and ease of description, this gathering of ever-changing vocalists and musicians have been producing astonishing soul-drenched harmonies in the area of this mortal coil since 1986. as with ivo’s landmark 4ad recordings, the one constant is its creative mind at the core. btfabg is sam rosenthal. figurehead, writer, producer and tear-duct sponsor. of course, it’s a generalisation to face-off black tape and tmc in a mirror. indeed, projekt and 4ad could be likewise, but if that is the nudge anyone needs to give this work more than a cursory glance then so be it. these are no mere cover versions though. the thematics of life and love feed throughout all of sam’s output, naked and intensely exposed. to touch the milky way is his twelfth studio album. familiar delicate threads weave the atmosphere and its two chosen vocalists danielle herrera and michael plaster shimmer horizons. their voices exuding darkness and light amongst patterning hues of electronics, piano, harmonium and other elements. there is always a diversity of textural tones within black tape. on this album ranges orchestral cascades, sweeping drones, lush driving melodics and searing dramatic art-rock, all underpinned by trademarked deep-rooted ambience. lyrically here sam is exploring deep personal feelings of self, unshackling from normalities to achieve and move beyond wasted opportunities, potential and mere existence. past shared experience, moments re-lived and the longing to move forward without inbuilt societal repression. seven tracks switch between the warm, caressing tones of michael and sensual breath of danielle. the sadness she portrays on does anything remain? is enough to break the blackest of hearts; “does anything remain through all the mistakes and all the wasted years, i try to forget myself”, whilst plaster momentarily rages “joy, hate, sex, thirst, longing, pain, passion, i think i want to feel alive” over all of the things i wanted which reminds a little of the emotional perfect pop of ian mcnabb’s icicle works. part of the triumph of btfabg has always been the deliberate switching of vocalists and even though i feel i’ve been touched by this record virtually all of my life it reveals unsurpassed intimacy. there is happiness in its openness and the closing lines offer hope “why do we fight, and love and die? on my back in the dust with my eyes on the wheel of the milky way. so the infinite can know itself. we are awake for the infinite to know itself”. very few artists would lay themselves as bare. sam was one of the first people to engage with the empty quarter and support our endeavours and it pleases me beyond words that he continues to record and thrive as a musician and label under these harsh industry climates. the fact he does is testament to his pride and quality of material he publishes. long may that continue until we are all wiry old flesh rattling bones into the cosmos.
available soon on vinyl, cd and dl