There was a period of time during the mid-1990s where Projekt Records was my favorite record label (or pretty close to it). It was a pretty emotional time, filled with near-poverty, relationship upheaval, and no small amount of existential angst. Projekt’s dark, atmospheric music — as typified by such releases as Soul Whirling Somewhere’s Eating the Sea and Black Tape for a Blue Girl’s Ashes in the Brittle Air — provided those days with a suitably melancholy and overwrought musical backdrop.
Over the years, Projekt has expanded beyond their initial 4AD-esque “darkwave” niche, and have released everything from ambient and world music to cabaret and apocalyptic folk. Personally, though, I still prefer Projekt’s darkly atmospheric side — I still consider Eating the Sea one of my favorite albums — and the label has recently re-released one of its earliest darkwave releases.
A Chaos of Desire was Black Tape for a Blue Girl’s fourth album, and was originally released in 1991. Since then, it’s gone out of print, and rather than spend the money to reissue it on CD, Sam Rosenthal (Black Tape for a Blue Girl frontman and Projekt founder) has decided to release it for free (for an e-mail address, that is) on Bandcamp.
The twelve songs on A Chaos of Desire move from dark explorations of love and heartache (which often feature Oscar Herrera’s melodramatic vocals) to softer, more ambient pieces that blend Rosenthal’s synths with fragile string arrangements (e.g., “Beneath the Icy Floe,” “Of These Reminders”). As you might imagine, I prefer the latter, as they provide a perfect example of Projekt’s “vintage” darkwave sound.
Note: Since this review was originally published, A Chaos of Desire is no longer free.