Black Tape for a Blue Girl

This Lush Garden Within

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The general Black Tape ethic - dark mood music informed by orchestral and synthesized atmospherics - has often drawn comparison to This Mortal Coil, but Garden is the album which most resembles the efforts by the noted UK studio project. As This Mortal Coil did with the 4AD label roster, here Black Tape draws in a wide number of Projekt labelmates, including Padraic Ogl of Thanatos, Mike Vanportfleet of Lycia and Ryan Lum of Love Spirals Downwards. Here also Black Tape resembles TMC by doing reinterpretive cover versions, in this case a not-bad take on Laurie Anderson's "Gravity's Angel," with vocals by Susan Jennings, the album's cover model and general inspiration (Rosenthal detailed their relationship in a separate self-published book that if nothing else demonstrates that his straight prose can be as extreme in its emotional detail as his songs). As a whole, Garden is something of a catchall effort; it doesn't quite achieve the unity earlier Black Tape albums have, and the various performances almost feel more like a compilation at points than a unified product. This said, Herrera and new singer Lucian Casselman (possessed of a warm set of pipes, possibly the best female singer Rosenthal has yet worked with) acquit themselves well, while Rosenthal's ear for lengthy electronic performance pieces still holds up. Of the guest performances, Ogl's spare take on the title track is especially worth noticing.

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