Bipolar Explorer

 
 

About the band

Bipolar Explorer

"Epic and affecting" - Surface Noise

"Great, beautiful drifty-pop filled with sadness and wonder" - WFMU

"Magical, majestic, unforgettable, essential" - Indiemusic (France)

"Significant, stirring and addictive" - Ground Control

 

Their seventh album, Sometimes in Dreams (2018) hailed as "epic and affecting" by Surface Noise, their sixth album, Dream Together (2017), praised by France’s Indiemusic as “magical and majestic - an ultimate tour-de-force”, their double-album, Of Love and Loss (2013) - "The most significantly stirring and addictive musical accomplishment we've come across in some time. Taut, emotional, urgent and altogether haunting” -  and its follow-up, Angels (2015) - “Electrifying, what music fueled by raw love and emotions sounds like” - each a Critics Pick for Best Albums of the Year by Ground Control Magazine, Bipolar Explorer are an NYC-based dreampop, post-rock trio featuring co-founders Summer Serafin (vocals) and Michael Serafin-Wells (lead guitar & vocals, bass, synth, organ, melodica, tape loops and percussion) and Sylvia Solanas (spoken word), notable for intimate, electric live performances, unimpeachable songwriting, uncompromising DIY ethos and their playing without drums.

The band's newest album, their eighth, Til Morning is Nigh, was released on Slugg Records on November 23, 2018.

 

Featured on the legendary Irene Trudel's show on WFMU ("America's best radio station" - Rolling Stone) who calls their sound "beautiful, great drifty pop, filled with sadness and wonder”, Til Morning is the band's follow up to their celebrated seventh album, Sometimes in Dreams - "Unforgettable and essential. This is a major record" (Indiemusic -France), reaching the #19 chart position of WFMU’s album charts in May 2018 and entering the top 200 of the North America College and Community Radio (NACC) listings, prompting a Wikipedia page about the band to appear.

 

A 23-track dreamscape of shoegaze, dreampop and spoken word underscored by post-rock guitar, Til Morning is Nigh features both new compositions and new instrumentation (organ, synth, melodica)… and new voices - joining band co-founders Summer and Michael Serafin-Wells is Sylvia Solanas. Originally from the south of France, Ms Solanas voices spoken word in French on the new album and is a co-founder, with Michael, of the band's brand new sibling in dreampop, Tremosphere, who themselves will release a debut album early in 2019.

Work on Til Morning Is Nigh had just begun late in April 2018, when Michael was hit by a car while on foot in NYC (on the day before his birthday), awaking in the ER with serious injuries. Then, two weeks later as he was initially released, collapsed on the sidewalk outside of the hospital, in Sylvia’s arms. Terrified, she screamed for help and texted Summer’s dad, an MD, who replied immediately in all caps: “pulmonary embolism”. Rushed back into Trauma, his heart stopped for a full ten minutes. Usually fatal, it’s something of a miracle he is still with us - returned and guarded by angels on both sides of the divide.

The new record, a dream bridging that very chasm, echoes those moments between worlds. Like a late night broadcast from a distant radio transmitter drifting to us as we lay half asleep in the midwinter twilight. The album’s bilingual spoken word mirrors this, too. The dreamy instrumentation and largely French spoken word, sprinkled with whispery English phrases drifting periodically just above, like familiar little twinklings in the night sky, helping us know our bearings. As angels (Michael’s and our own), both celestial and earthly, envelop us with love and protection.

Recorded, mixed and produced by the band at The Shrine in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen, Til Morning Is Nigh is the band's eighth album overall and their fourth in just the span of twenty-eight months.

The interweaving of spoken word into the band’s work was explained by Serafin-Wells recently in conversation with USC filmmaker, Alexandra Dennis-Renner, who is making a documentary, "Sonic Prayer", about the band.“The idea of a female voice, a spoken word narrator - like in a novel or off-camera in a film - came to mind, to tell the story in tandem with the band. We’re enormously romantic about radio”, Serafin-Wells continues. “I can’t tell you how much we’ve been immersed in the work of ambient masters like Stars of the Lid as I’ve written and we’ve recorded these last four albums. I really see that as our template going forward, the album itself, an uninterrupted flow of sound taking you somewhere and really both audio document and the performance of its composition all in one.”

Forging an unique sound - described variously as shoegaze, dreampop, slowcore, post-rock and minimalist indie - well serves the new songs Serafin-Wells began writing in the aftermath of the tragic loss of the group's female vocalist, Michael's love and partner, Summer Serafin, who passed away after a tragic accident in 2011. She was just 31. At work at the time on a new record, the group eventually returned to those recordings, adding them to a handful of newly written songs post-tragedy and re-conceiving the album as both a testament and tribute to Ms. Serafin – muse, collaborator and True Love - yielding a double-album, Of Love and Loss, released to great acclaim in October 2012.

As Michael told Indiemusic’s Raphael Duprez in a feature about the band (February 2017): “All of this is entirely for her. I often say that our music, each album, is of, for and about her. It’s my way of telling people about her and talking to her myself. That’s  the “for’ and “about” parts of the equation. And Summer remains an integral part of the band - not only as its inspiration but, because I have lots of her isolated vocals from other recording sessions - as her voice, both spoken and singing, graces each record. I’ll write songs and fly in her voice. Summer isn’t the main reason BPX goes on, she’s the only reason. She is the reason. And I think I can trust that I’m doing things for the right reason if I always know the reason for it is her. Not out of any ambition other than to honor and conjure her. She’s my conscience."


Bipolar Explorer's releases include Til Morning Is Nigh (2018), Sometimes in Dreams (2018), Dream Together (2017), Electric Hymnal (2016), Angels (2015), their holiday album - BPXmas (2014),  Of Love and Loss (2012), the digital-only singles Better Girl (2018), Watchers and Holy Ones (2017), We’ll All Go Together (2016) and Downtown Train (2015) and their earlier (pre-Summer) debut Go Negative. All titles are available on Slugg Records.