Black Tape for a Blue Girl

Remnants of a Deeper Purity

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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.

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