From Sam

My Patreon backers give a small monthly donation, to help fund the creation of my art. They get additional private blog posts. You can join for as little as $3 a month. It’s a really nice way to keep the art flowing.

A few pictures from 1989, meeting Sue-Kenny, free download of remastered Ashes in the brittle air, and Kickstarter update.

  • October 11, 2019

Hi, it’s Sam from Black Tape For A Blue Girl — With 18 days to go on the campaign, we’re 43% funded. 94 people have joined together to pledge $3,931 towards Ashes in the brittle air. Thanks so much! Things are moving along nicely. The campaign is all or nothing, every pledge is important to make the 2CD / clear-vinyl LP exist! Head over to Bandcamp for the free download of the remastered 11-track album. It sounds fabulous. If you like what you hear and can chip in a little bit, pledge at Kickstarter.

I’ve had a few questions about this — I’d like to remind overseas backers that shipping will be charged after the campaign is over; ie: shipping is not included in your pledge. I’ve done this on my last 4 campaigns, it’s worked out nicely. Jan at DeeJayDead in Germany will fulfill European orders, to help reduce the cost of postage. Read more in this update.

1989! We were all so young! Maybe some of you weren’t even born yet? Oscar was 27. I was 23. I’m guessing Sue is around my age. I’m going through old photos, rekindling my memory on what things were like and what was going through my thoughts at the time.

Here are some photos from when we were working on Ashes.

Oscar in Miami

Sue, somewhere in London, saying goodbye after we recorded her tracks.

Meeting Sue-Kenny Smith, vocalist on Ashes in the brittle air.

In 1987 was a TV/film student at Chapman College in Orange California. The students made a talk show for the local cable company and somebody suggested they interview me about my music; I’d already released The Rope LP and I was working on Mesmerized by the Sirens. Sue-Kenny (also a comm student) was the host (though it’s possible the host alternated each week, so everyone got to practice); I think it was the first time we met. During the interview I mentioned that Black Tape For A Blue Girl had a lot of different members; Sue asked, “So how do you find people to be in your band?” And I said something like, “I ask random people I meet. Do you sing or play?” Something offhand like that. She said she did and I asked her right there on the show if she’d like to come round to the studio to see what we could create together. I recorded her tracks for Mesmerized in the vocal booth at college. For Ashes, I went to England and we recorded for a few hours in a studio in Brixton. They were dynamiting somewhere near by; when I isolate the vocal tracks I hear the booms in the background of her takes. We lost touch (pre-internet), were briefly in contact about 6 years ago on Facebook, but I haven’t been able to reach her since. I’ve love Sue-Kenny’s style. It’s really nice to hear her vocals on six of the unreleased and demo tracks on the 2nd disc / download of the expanded edition.

May 1989. Sam with Miira, who is on the cover of 87’s Mesmerized by the sirens.

”Ashes in the Brittle Air is Black Tape for a Blue Girl’s third full-length record, and \ finds the band expanding on their ambient & neoclassical influences to incorporate more dark swagger.” – Post-Punk

A $50 pledge at Kickstarter includes your choice of the 2CD or LP, memorabilia booklet, downloads,
an unseen photo, and a journal with a few lines of handwritten lyrics inside.

Thanks so much,

Ashes in the brittle air (30th anniversary expanded edition) – Kickstarter

  • September 27, 2019

It’s hard to believe, but it’s been 30 years since I released the Ashes in the brittle air album; I was 23 at the time. My Kickstarter to create the 2CD/LP expanded edition is now live, and receiving donations from fans like you! Every pledge helps us get closer to creating the deluxe edition. Ashes is the album that brought my band to a lot more listeners, especially via radio play on the goth rock (with ambient thrown in) track “Across a thousand blades.”

The 30th Aanniversary remastering of Ashes in the brittle air sounds amazing! The vocals are so much more present, the instruments are clear, yet the album retains that dreamy, romantic quality you remember from the 80s. Hey, don’t just read me talking about it… go get yourself a copy! It’s a free download at Bandcamp during the crowdfunding campaign! If you like what you hear, please go to the Kickstarter page and make a pledge. The download includes the pristine and powerful 2019 mix of “Across a thousand blades,” plus an 8-song Highlights of recent BlackTape releases. Every backer who pledges at Kickstarter gets a 21-track bonus download (as soon as my mastering guy finishes it). It includes five finally-mixed-to-perfection tracks that were cut from the 1989 release, as well as a number of demos and early mixes, including the evolution of “Across a thousand blades.”

🔪 ★ 🔪 ★ 🔪 ★ 🔪 ★ 🔪 ★ 🔪 ★ 🔪 ★ 🔪 ★ 🔪 ★ 🔪

Ashes in the brittle air – patron-exclusive digital editions of 2 cassettes from late 80s

  • August 4, 2019

2019 is the 30th anniversary of Black Tape For A Blue Girl’s 3rd album, Ashes in the brittle air. I’m gathering together material for a deluxe edition. Howard will remaster the album from the original source; I had my guy in Canada transfer the 1/4-inch 2-track mix to high-resolution digital. I also had him transfer 6 unreleased tracks from the 1/2-inch 8-track tape; I’m almost done mixing them for the bonus disc (they sound amazing!). I’m going through my cassette archive to find interesting demos and early mixes for you. I’m already at 45 minutes of bonus material for disc 2, and there’s still more to gather.

With CD sales the way they are these days, how can I afford to do this?

The simple answer is you allow me to do this. Some of the band’s hardcore supporters pledge at my bandcamp patron area which provides the funding to pay for this pre-production work, and also a bit to me for my time. It’s great knowing people are moved by the art I create and want to help me make more of it!

You can help for as little as $5 a month.

In the past two weeks, I digitized the cassettes shown above, making them available for my patrons. Cassette vol. 4 + 5 pre-Ashes 1987 contains 15 tracks & Cassette vol. 6 pre 15 April 1988 contains 18 tracks. A good chunk of these pieces have never been heard before (some for good reason!). They’re a real slice of the 80s, for those of you interested in the genesis of this classic album. Most of those tracks will not be on the bonus disc. Click the links for track listing and read my recollection. They are available streaming or download; I will transfer a couple more cassettes before the month is over.

Patrons get a lot of exclusive material!<

I’m unearthing all of this in advance of the upcoming Ashes in the brittle air Kickstarter for a 1-LP clear vinyl edition and a 2-CD deluxe edition. I expect the CD will ship before the holidays and the LP in early 2020. There’ll also be cool memorabilia and exclusive items for those who want to help out with a larger pledge. Plus a very reasonably priced download of the 2-CD edition.

I’m finding all sorts of cool images, old press, etc. in my files — this will be really great. Thanks to everyone who has given me encouragement. It’s so nice to read that Ashes is some people’s favorite album, along with little recollections of where you were when this album touched your lives. That makes it so worthwhile!

P R O J E K T | P R O 2 6

July 6th 2019 update

  • July 7, 2019

It’s been a long long time since I’ve sent a Black Tape For A Blue Girl blog. So what’s been going on… ?

I’ve fulfilled nearly all the Gesture of History Kickstarter backer packages. Still a few addresses I’m waiting on. For the rest of you who’ve been itching to hear my collaboration with Nick Shadow (viola) and Steve Roach (synths/enhancements), the download is free/name-your-price on the BlackTape Bandcamp page; the black LP and CD are available for purchase.

I’m really pleased with the album! Give it a listen, see what you think.

“Haunting, beautiful and dreamlike …a shimmering panoramic soundfield, with Shadow’s viola being the only immediately recognizable instrument, enveloped in warm synth textures, occasionally rising up through the fabric to provide colorful dreamy melodics and intense highlights.” – Peter Thelen, Expose Magazine

Rye: LOVE KNOWS NO GENDER T-shirts for (almost free)

There are 10 shirts left, I’ve put them on sale. $1 + postage = you get a copy! Medium and XL still available.

One of the reasons I forgot to send an email list in so long is because I post a lot of my thoughts in the Black Tape For A Blue Girl patron area. For less than the cost of a download, you can become a monthly patron! You get 17 downloads immediately for just $5. ;I interact with everyone in the comments area.

What do I do& with Patron funding?

I bought a DAT machine on Ebay for $95. I’m beginning to transfer my old DATs. First up: I grabbed backing tracks from our 1996 live show for a couple of “new versions of old tracks” we ‘re working on.

=A more pricey use of Patron’s funds was $592 to repair my Canon Mark 5d ii. This camera has been my trusty photographic companion since 2009. I first used it on the 10 NEUROTICS album, and I think you see an improvement in the quality of my photos at that point. It also shot videos for “the pleasure in the pain” and “marmalade cat” as well as all my Kickstarter clips. I got it back earlier this week and it’s working great! This is the camera that shot TO TOUCH THE MILKY WAY, THESE FLEETING MOMENTS, etc etc. I really love it and I’m glad I’ll have it for another 10 years of creating… Thanks to patron’s monthly support I can fix my tools so I can keep making art!

In the image above, you see that Patrons are listening to rare collections I put together; these tracks will probably not be released anywhere. I uploaded a rehearsal from 11-2-99 (for the two shows that Vicki Richards played with the band), and the first version of Ashes in the brittle air (early mixes including tracks that didn ‘t make it onto the album).

Join us in the Black Tape For A Blue Girl patron area.

Speaking of Ashes in the brittle air, 2019 is the 30th anniversary! I used some of the patron $$$s to send the 2-track 1/4-inch stereo master to my guy in Canada, who baked the tapes and did an über-high-resolution transfer to digital. Howard, my mastering engineer, has those files and he’ll begin on a 30th anniversary remaster. I’ve been working on mixes of 5 of the unreleased “first version” tracks. One of them, “Griffith Park” has been released on a few compilations, while four of them have never been released. They’re sounding really good. The next step is to run the vocals through the reverb, and work that into the mix. Then they’ll be ready for Howard.

If you’re curious about the first version, I posted a blog about it.

I’ll Kickstart the 30th anniversary edition soon. I’m thinking of premiums. Super-fan Scott & I & the other patrons have been discussing vinyl. I’m thinking I might do a Lathe Cut 7″ single of a new mix of “Across a thousand blades.” More on that as I get the details figured out.

Do you have any live photos?

I added a few 2007 live photos to the BlackTape Gigography Page. Do you have any photos from our shows? Please email them to me so I can add them. All I need is the year and the city and I’ll figure out where they go. The camera in phones are so good these days that you can get them to me that way; no need to scan or anything like that.

A the Gesture of History Kickstarter backer wrote, “thanks much – love the work – don ‘t sweat the small stuff…:) i know it’s hard when it’s your livelihood, but I’ll keep supporting as best I can – have a great weekend.”

I replied, “Alas! This isn’t my livelihood. My Kickstarter campaigns cover manufacturing costs, and maybe put a bit of money in my pocket. But not enough to live off. Not complaining, just sayin’ 😉 I appreciate your support, that’s for sure! I couldn’t release music without it.”

With the transition to streaming, it’s a tough time for artists on the fringes. I create my art for those of you that support my art. When you put some of your hard-earned income towards my physical releases I feel good knowing my work has meaning and value to you. Thanks!


My vocal guides (patron exclusive)

  • May 24, 2019

Black Tape For A Blue Girl patrons are listening to four guide vocal tracks from To touch the milky way. You can listen too! Support my creative process with a donation of as low as $5 a month. You get a bunch of free past releases, and exclusive releases like this one. Thanks!

A few patrons have expressed interest in hearing more of my guide vocals. These mixes are akin to the files I sent to Michael and Danielle, so they could learn their parts for To touch the milky way. I think when people hear the album, they assume the vocalists created their own melodies; in fact you’ll hear that I am very specific with what I have in mind. I spend months with the lyrics and backing tracks, perfecting the timing and melody.

Become a patron here, at Bandcamp.

Poster Sets

  • April 4, 2019

I’m digging in the storage space, finding cool vintage Black tape for a blue girl memorabilia for you. Today, I have a set of six posters for $60.

Six vintage Black tape for a blue girl Posters. 3 large format (24×17″), 3 medium (11×17). These were stored flat, in quite good shape; but there could be some bent corners or waving from the years. Sold AS IS, but like I said, quite good shape for how old these are (10-20 years old!). Large: the Rope, Remnants of a deeper purity, As one aflame laid bare by desire. 11×17: the Scavenger bride, Halo star, 10 Neurotics. I have around 25 of these sets available.

Click for larger image

I’m regularly packaging up orders with CDs, LPs & Merchandise. I enjoy that. I like knowing BlackTape’s music is going out to people, that it’s going to be enjoyed. See what I have available at our merchandise store at Bandcamp.

A [VIDEO] interview with Danielle Herrera

  • March 19, 2019

Dani answers some of your questions about singing on To touch the milky way at YouTube

You Did It!

  • March 8, 2019

You did it! We reached the goal with 24 hours to go. Your support made the The Gesture of History crowdfunding campaign a success! 265+ amazing people said, “Yeah, I like this! I want to be one of the backers that ensures there’s a physical CD & LP!” That’s remarkable! I’m so grateful. If you missed pledging the campaign and would like a copy, visit our Bandcamp page.

From New Zealand.

  • February 23, 2019

Hi Sam, I pledged The Gesture of History. It’s not much, but you and your projects have given me a lot of pleasure over the years. So this was a no-brainer and the right thing to do. Good luck from New Zealand, Paul

Hey Paul, $20 is still $20! It moves the campaign closer to the goal, so it’s very helpful. Best, – Sam

I’ve been following your work and your Projekt roster since the late 80s. The music world is in such disarray at the minute – it’s all image over substance and production over talent. We need you now more than ever! – Paul

Ha! I think there’s always been a faction of the music world that was image over substance (ie: much of MTV in the 80s, all the bad California bands in the 70s). But I know what you mean, and I appreciate it. – Sam

The Gesture of History (CD/LP) | Kickstarter

  • February 8, 2019

I’ve launched the Kickstarter to fund the CD and LP edition of The Gesture of History. I’m really thrilled with this instrumental collaboration with violist Nick Shadow and synthesist Steve Roach. It evolved from recordings around Blood on the snow/To touch the milky way into an album I think really stands up on its own! Listen to a preview track at our Bandcamp page.

The Gesture of History draws upon introspective passages where the organic texture and emotions of the viola play out over an atmosphere of engulfing mournful beauty. Delicate strings float upon shimmering, forever changing expressionistic backgrounds of processed viola, synth, and harmonium – sensitive and deeply moving. The modernist ambient compositions balance on the precipice, looking back in moments of reflection and rumination, while delicately holding the future in our hands.

I’m crowdfunding on Kickstarter where you can get involved to help create the CD and LP. Like when you donate to PBS, you’re contributing towards something you believe in. And you’re becoming a patron of the art. I really appreciate that many of you have already pledged on Kickstarter.

Something helpful for my European backers:

I’ve noticed fewer European backers on my recent campaigns; I suspect expensive shipping is the big consideration. Shipping often costs around the same as your pledge! To deal with this problem, I’ve partnered with a German webstore so all European premiums (in the under $100 tiers) will ship from “Projekt’s European Webstore” in Siedlinghausen. Read more about that here, with estimated shipping charges.

Thank you so much for helping this independent, fan-funded album see the light of day.

If you backed last year’s To touch the milky way Kickstarter campaign, you get a free download of Gesture immediately. If you don’t have that email in your inbox this backer-only update for a link to your download.

There’s a variety of CDs, LPs and other cool merchandise at our Bandcamp store. Including the only-now-available fleeting CD with the tracks from the Limitless and Bike Shop EPs, plus two otherwise unreleased tracks.