Originally released in 1989, Ashes in the Brittle Air is one of my favorite Black Tape For a Blue Girl albums. I suppose a lot of that has to do with the fact that it — along with Love Spirals Downwards’ Idylls and Soul Whirling Somewhere’s Eating the Sea — represented my first real foray into darkwave music (think a highly atmospheric, ambient form of goth music).
Heavily influenced by the “classic” 4AD sound (e.g., Dead Can Dance, This Mortal Coil), Ashes in the Brittle Air blends lush soundscapes with deeply romantic and melodramatic lyrics. (Sample lyric: “I hold you gently, your eyes so far away/Searching for your justice/Searching for your innocence/Lost as a child adrift on a lonely sea.”) Highlights include the title track (which is arguably my favorite Black Tape For a Blue Girl song), the breezily acoustic “Through Sky Blue Rooms,” and the Slowdive-ish instrumental “I Ran to You.”
You can currently download a remastered version of Ashes in the Brittle Air for free from Bandcamp as part of a Kickstarter campaign to reissue the album in an expanded format for its 30th anniversary.