Bipolar Explorer is an experimental/dream pop/slowcore band from New York City. I don’t know much about them, but I stumbled upon their newest record today, and I like it a lot.
One thing that makes Bipolar Explorer unique is that they don’t have drums. They never have. While it’s usually said that Bipolar Explorer is a trio, the reality is that the band is made up of Michael Louis Serafin-Wells (guitar, bass, percussion, vocals) and Jason Sutherland (guitar, backing vocals), with additional archived vocals by the late Summer Serafin. Ms Serafin tragically passed away in 2011 after falling from a fire escape in her San Francisco home. Both she and Serafin-Wells came from the theatre world — he as a playwright and actor, she as an actress. I don’t understand the details of the arrangement, but she was apparently married to British actor/director Rowan Brooks while also in a serious relationship with her band mate Michael Wells. After her passing, Wells vowed to take her name and continue making records in her honor.
The new album, and the one before it, was conceived as a multimedia performance piece, and meant to be performed in an art gallery or other non-traditional venue. With that in mind, it doesn’t really do justice to the work to remove a part from the whole. Nonetheless, I really like this one:
“Not Alone” by Bipolar Explorer
This is not one of the songs that features archived vocals by Summer Serafin. However, this song, like the others, is very much about her.
Wherever you are
We’re just a heartbeat apart
And I’m not alone
With no arms to hold me
Let your spirit enfold me
It’s heavy and deeply sad, but it’s beautiful. The whole record is.
You can buy a download via Bandcamp here, or you can select the CD version, which comes in nifty packaging with lots of multimedia extras.