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Sam Rosenthal - The Passage [Projekt - 2011]

Sam Rosenthal is one of those names that probably rings a bell.  Know as the creator behind the darkwave group Black Tape For A Blue Girl, he is also the founder of Projeckt Records.  His recording history is long (since 1986) and diverse; dabbling in darkwave, gothic, cabaret and ambient music.  This is his most recent release, well kind of sort of, but we’ll get to that part.

The Passage consists of two songs.  “The Passage”, which is actually a song that appeared on Black Tape For A Blue Girls 1999 cd, As One Flame Laid Bare By Desire and “Rae”.  After re-visiting the song, Rosenthal muted the vocals and discovered a haunting soundscape and extended it into a 44 minute piece.  This is where “The Passage” truly begins.

It all starts quietly enough yet grows with enough intensity to sound almost symphonic.  The composition is thoughtful without being over the top or forceful.  Rosenthal is able to give the ambience of meditative indifference.  It’s not happy or sad it just is.  The flow of the ambient sounds gravitates with purpose and direction.  There are a few moments were the calm is upended by a bit of pensiveness or anxiety but overall they only add another dimension to the piece.  The title, “The Passage” is well given; there is a feeling of movement (either physical or dimensional).  While there is a soft etherealness, there is also an undercurrent of harshness too.

If “The Passage” is where Rosenthal begins, then the next piece “Rae” is where he soars.  “The Passage” flows directly into “Rae” and there are few subtle changes to start with.  There is a shimmering, bright chords that are played above the familiar ambient sound that makes the piece very dramatic.  Even though it seems like we are listening to the same song it sounds so different and fresh.  “Rae” has a joyous lyrical inclination to it that is light and uplifting.

This is certainly a different aspect to Rosenthals other recordings in comparison.  The ambient sound may not be new but it is a new facet to his sound.  Well done, well thought out and a nice departure from the usual.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Viktorya Kaufholz
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