Tuesday, January 2, 2018

From France...

Little sweetheart, the new album got the most lovely review in France. And so very much of it is about you. The article is in French below but also the English translation sent me by the author, Indiemusic Associate Editor Raphael Duprez.

https://www.indiemusic.fr/2018/01/02/bipolar-explorer-sometimes-in-dreams/

Raphael Duprez, Associate Editor, Indiemusic (France) - 2 January 2018 (translated):

One year ago, Bipolar Explorer’s record “Dream Together” moved us to tears and sounded like a musical farewell, as well as a last goodbye, but also, an unstoppable wish not to let absence become the most oppressive feeling in (composer/band co-founder, Michael Serafin-Wells’) life. Remembrances matter, as they always do with Bipolar Explorer. And through “Sometimes in Dreams” the project reaches an upper level into emotion and confidence, transfiguring the everlasting link between two inseparable soulmates and creators. In this new work, Summer and Michael chart a course that follows an inspired and enlightening way of composing - illuminating nostalgia as a powerful, precious and human strength  - to offer us so many fascinating and sincere songs, all destined to be unforgettable and essential to our own lives. Have no doubt, this is a major record.
The dearest human beings are the ones we cherish the chance to meet and talk to when we most feel the urge to do so, spend hours writing one another and focusing on every word in reply. Michael suffered, but survived. Bipolar Explorer is a perfect reflection of this humanity; a honest, pure and helpful presence.
 

A guileless and urgent art of melodies, tunes and vocals thread their way and lead us lovingly through “Sometimes in Dreams”  and, in the depths of the record, Summer, his muse, his eternal love, talks to him and us as she never did before. But Summer never looks or sounds like a ghost: she stands right in front of us, holding her lover’s hand as they both look at us, smiling. She then lays her eyes on him, sings with him, creates and changes into a remarkable source of inspiration for their new double-LP; an eternal piece of work, divided into different chapters but as homogenous as welcoming us to explore BPX’s parallel universes and lands.
 

Summer is always here, close to Michael and us. Her voice resonates through the first tunes of the record, and will shine more and more as we travel into a wonderful and moving musical world. Never with even a thought to erase her presence, Michael creates an intense but devoted melodic canvas during two hours that are flowing nearly too fast for us, as we all feel comfortable and at peace with what we are listening and enjoying. A complete immersion explodes in our souls: distortion on “Letter to the Darkest Star” and astonishing natural movements on “Ocean” invite us to swim in clear and warm waters. ‘Sometimes in Dreams’ is an album about life, its difficulties but, most of all, all that makes us go forward, whatever may happen : “Phantom Limb” and “Out” stare at the vaporous veils of desire and the constant need to be with our beloved ones, as “Necessary Weight” changes pain into the origin of redemption and the acceptance of our mourning.
 

On the second part of the record, “Thousand Thousand Summer” is probably the most passionate track; a vocal obsession changing into a cathartic hypnosis, then leading to the overwhelming song “The Choral Text Passage (Summerlove)” which breaks our mental barriers as well as Michael’s when he went through his oppressive loss. “Sometimes in Dreams” is a staging of the union of souls, troubles and inspirations; a hidden book, lost in the multiple bookshelves of an imaginary bookstore, but the only one we can find in a glimpse of an eye, as it is shining and calling us.
 

The final words of “Lost Life” are the most perfect way to end up talking about “Sometimes in Dreams”; so, time to let Bipolar Explorer express an ultimate motivation to think, feel and live. Summer and Michael’s tenderness, confidence and friendship are spiritually and melodically intense, and we can’t thank them enough for what they give us, year after year.
 

Perfect ending: “In this moment she appeared to him. In this waking hour he saw and could see. Overcome with emotion he understood at last. She beckoned and he returned to her joyfully, as she said, simply... now!”

Bipolar Explorer’s “Sometimes in Dreams” is available from 1 January 2018 on Slugg Records.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Sometimes in Dreams

The new album, our seventh, a double-album, Sometimes in Dreams, is released today, little sweetheart. As ever, it is of, for and about you. I'm so proud of and grateful to and for you. I will always love you and be ever watchful for your guiding presence.

Below is a little something I wrote for inclusion in the CD's booklet. A liner note dedication. You, my darling, remain the reason for it all. My reason. My conscience. The other half of my soul.

With all my love forever.

This album, conceived as a live art installation work, began as an internal demo for the band and our collaborators. With me in New York, our narrator in California and our visual artists in far flung places, it began as a shared sonic document of how the piece might unfold once we were all in the same room. As circumstances changed, we began to think of it differently. The concept for performance remained the same but the idea of making an entirely new double-album, revisiting and reimagining the songs from "Of Love and Loss", seamlessly interweaving them with the spoken word narrative, began to emerge. We already had an eye toward doing a live album of "Of Love" as performed with the narration but this became something else - an original sonic experience in its own right. Each disc gapless, a continuous flow of music and words like a dreamy late night transmission from some far away radio station that only comes over the air in the wee hours as you lay half asleep in bed. (We must admit we are hugely romantic about radio. Listening in the dark to BBC 3 & 4 or the great WFMU is kind of our idea of bliss.) We still see this album as the blueprint for the live arts work we conceived it for in collaboration with a visual artist. This booklet is meant to allude to and suggest that very thing. But there's also something about slipping on some nice headphones, turning the lights down and the volume up and letting this take you somewhere. We hope you will. As ever this album is for Summer - my partner, my best friend, my soulmate, my true love. God knows, she took me somewhere. She led me here. And I believe with all my heart she will lead me back to her side in The Forever. With all my love...

Michael Serafin-Wells
New York City
January 2018


Sunday, December 31, 2017

Resolved

Little sweetheart, it’s New Year’s Eve. I’ve come up here to sit on your bed and write this before returning to talk to your mom and dad as we await midnight (I’m not too sure your dad will make it - he’s been on call at the hospital and barely slept in the last 24 hours.) Earlier tonight, I made beef stroganoff and salad and dessert. We walked outside - it’s incredibly warm and lovely - and the sky was amazing.

The moon is full and luminous and so bright it’s lighting the sky almost as if it were daylight. And it - the moon - is somehow magically floating as if it were in front of the clouds themselves. The clouds look as if they are passing behind the moon, not in front. And behind that, the corona itself, the sky is a bright blue. Truly as if it were day. It’s magic and it feels as if you are near, quite near, nearer than readily imaginable. And tonight, as there was also last night, there is a single unseen bird quietly, sweetly singing his song. A nightingale, perhaps?

It’s a warm and unusual and beautiful night. Full of magic and promise as a new year approaches. And I’ve come up to your room to tell you that I love you. That I’m so very grateful to and for you. And to ask you to please help and guide me. Please lead me the way I’m meant to go in these days I’ve left on earth, on these days - of unknown number to me - until I may join you and be with you forever in The Forever. In this year ahead, help me to best honor and follow you, little sweetheart. Help me to be the man you were molding. And take me to you the very moment heaven will allow. With all my love.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

To Find You

I went up to Davis today, little sweetheart…

Is Davis north of here, actually? I have to think about that for a moment. It may be south. That would be fitting, tho’. You were forever calling things “up” or “down” exactly opposite of their direction north to south. It was one of those things, like dates and numbers, that just didn’t compute for you. Charmingly so. It makes me so very fond and sad to think of it now. Like most things, I suppose, honestly.

I drove up (or down or over or whatever it is) ostensibly to deliver copies of Sometimes in Dreams to KDVS. Gabe, the station’s Music Director, has office hours on Thursday and I wanted to get it to him and a couple of the DJ’s who liked and programmed Dream Together last year.

I stopped at the house first, planning to walk over. I often linger at the house. I remember so keenly the many wonderful times you and I spent there lovingly, gloriously on our own. The amazing birthday cupcakes you made for me one year and the DCfC show we went to that evening and then returning cuddled on the couch in our pjs. All the times together in the garden and walking around downtown hand in hand visiting little shops or having lunch or dinner and getting a movie to take home and watch curled up together. Waking in your pretty canopy bed, entwined and in the deepest love I’ve ever known. It was an oasis and ours.

Today, my little sweetheart, something just didn’t feel right at all. I felt like a stranger there and far far too far from you and the love that saved and change me. I didn’t linger. I couldn’t have been there more than a few minutes. I packed up, locked the door behind me and walked to campus.

And when I came back, I just got in the car and drove to the Nugget Market and bought flowers to take to the place where the Angel honors your memory.

I know you aren’t there, darling. Not tethered in the least, You simply alight to confirm me. And I felt that you did as it was there finally that I lingered, letting the daylight go out around me and the night come on before kissing your stone and telling you how very much I love you. I lay all the way down across the marble there and listen and talk quietly to you. And cry and cry and cry.

Honestly, little sweetheart, I found myself in despair as I wept and something made me say that “people are so mean”. I’m not sure where that hurt came from but I felt and articulated it and somehow unburdened it talking to you. I sometimes feel, as I sometimes did in life, that people are trying to take you away from me and I said that too, “they won’t let me have you.”

But I know better because you told me yourself that others don’t matter. You told me, in the words of one of the songs we so loved, that my love would be safe with you. I remember, can still feel, how you crawled into my lap and quieted me, kissed away my tears and said over and over “I promise. I promise!”.

I need only quiet myself, listen, remember, do my work, do our work. And you will be with me. Here and in just a little while, forever. Help me to know, my darling. I need you more than ever. With all my love.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

To Find My Way

Little sweetheart, a few advance copies of the new album arrived here in California late this afternoon and I set aside a few meant to go to radio stations here and back east and two for your parents, as well. Tonight, I sat with your mom in the front room where the Christmas tree is and we listened to Disc One together.

It’s a funny thing but I don’t usually listen much to the albums after they come out. So much vigilant listening goes on as I mix and hear playback of the masters. Somehow, months can go by before I hear something I was listening to so attentively just half a year before. Your mom had “Dream Together” on the other night, when we were waiting for the guys to deliver the tree we’d picked out and I’d forgotten how emotional it could make me feel. I stood there at the window looking out and just crying and crying as I heard “Dream 3” fill the room, longing for and missing you, heartbroken.

Tonight, that came up some too as I listened, as we listened together. I’m always a bit nervous as your mom listens for the first time but she seemed to really like it. It’s so very much for you.

I said something to Alex - that filmmaker at USC who’s doing the documentary about the us - when she asked me how it all felt. I said something about it being a culmination of all the work done beginning with the last two albums and she asked if they meant that this was the end of something. I told her right away that that was not what I meant. That maybe “culmination” was the wrong choice of word. That this album just took those elements of spoken word and dream pop to a more distilled manifestation. But perhaps there is something in it.

I don’t know, my darling. I’m kind of filled with sadness somehow, a bit inconsolable. I think the work is good and I’m pleased and relieved that your mom likes it (your dad hasn’t listened yet) but I feel a bit lost. I hope I can just keep it together and find my way, find you. I really want to very diligently (that word, again) work on the book after I return to New York. And I remember your impatience with life. I remember it with fondness and admiration. So much seems too distant now, too distant even here. I think writing may be the way to find it. The way to find my way.  Do you know?

Please help lead and guide me there, won’t you, my darling? And take me to you the moment heaven will allow. With all my love forever. 

Monday, December 25, 2017

"Saving" Christmas...

Little sweetheart, it’s been quite a day, this Christmas Day.

Last night, we still had more than a few things to do to get ready. I had my presents all wrapped but we were still making little adjustments trimming the tree. Your dad was on call, so he got home a little late and had to leave early this morning. Before we went to bed we had the lovely tradition of getting our new pajamas. I love mine!

We went to bed not too late but your mom is such a perfectionist and so generous that she couldn’t help but stay up far too late working on everything. Your dad had to leave early for the OR and when I got up your Mom had only been asleep for a couple hours. We got a big turkey and lots of things to make dinner yesterday at the market but I didn’t want to start until we both were up. I went for  run and when I came back I had several messages on my phone. Your dad was worried because he still at the hospital and your mom was a still asleep because she’d been working so hard all night. Your mom is so lovely, little sweetheart, and wants everything to be perfect and he was afraid she’d wake up in a panic. There wouldn’t be time to make such a big dinner before the kids got here.

But I had an idea - instead of trying to cook that enormous turkey in time, I could get together a big lasagna instead. I’d already made a pie. I told your dad that and he said to try that and to gently wake your mom and see if it was okay. I just told her I had things under control and not to worry and, incredibly… it worked.

So, I headed out to get what I need but… all the markets were closed. I couldn’t think what to do. Finally, I tried a Walgreen’s that was open. They had three jars of nice pasta sauce, so I grabbed those and went looking for cheese. They didn’t have parmesan or ricotta but they had those long mozzarella individually wrapped string cheese packages. I grabbed that and some shredded mixture and remembered that sometimes you can substitute cottage cheese for ricotta. They had one tub of low fat cottage cheese so I grabbed that too. They didn’t have the noodles but I thought if we had just 10 noodles in the pantry from last year, if your mom hadn’t thrown them out, I would be fine. I got to checkout and they told me they didn’t have any bags. So, I carried the whole things in a cart to the car and then brought the cart back. I tried to think where to go if we didn’t have noodles at home. I stopped back at the house first, tho’, to check and we had exactly 10!

There were lots of vegetables already because we had plans to roast them. I often sautee different vegetables but I used everything we had including parsnips that we were going to use with the mashed potatoes. I cut everything up fine and sautéed it all in olive oil. I added the red sauce and seasoning and got the noodles on, grated the cheese one string at a time (!) and made the layers and got it all in the oven. I made a salad and by the time everyone showed up, it was all ready. Your mom and dad didn’t get stressed and there was plenty to eat and I even had time for a shower - I’d been going since my run hours earlier. Your dad said later that I “saved Christmas”. I don’t know about.

I do know that you saved me and that while I’m still here waiting to join in The Forever, that I need to take the lessons of love you taught me and do my best to take care of our beloveds as best I can. When I do, I can feel you near me. And that’s what it’s all about, isn't it, little sweetheart? Happy Christmas, my darling. With all my love forever.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve Day

I'm sitting on your bed in your room at your parents house, little sweetheart and filled with thoughts of you. Your mom and I talked for long time last night, all about you, of course, and I went to bed with your things around me (not exactly unusual since it's that way at home too). This morning I heard a little bird singing sweetly outside the window and he awakened me. We've lots of little things to get done for Christmas - grocery shopping before it gets too late, trimming the rest of the tree, wrapping gifts - but I'm already thinking about the year coming to an end the start of a new one. May I do all I can to honor you and listen closely for your presence, instruction and guidance. I need you desperately. Perhaps more than ever. With all my love forever.