Michael's blog for his late-girlfriend, love and partner, Summer Serafin. The scattershot beginnings of a memoir...
Michael's bands - acclaimed NYC-based dreampop trio Bipolar Explorer and celebrated NYC shoegaze duo Tremosphere. News, audio, video and links to their nine albums on Slugg Records.
Bipolar Explorer's page on Wikipedia.
The first anthology of Michael's works for the theatre, Collected Plays, published by The Ginger Press, avail via Amazon.
The band's eighth album, released November 23, 2018. A 23-track dreamscape of shoegaze and spoken word underscored with post-rock guitars. Available as both digital album and as limited edition CD. CD comes in beautiful 4 panel gatefold with special "Christmas ornament" insert.TIL MORNING IS NIGH at CD Baby
Both digital and limited edition CD versions of the album available from CD Baby.
Buy the album at Bandcamp on limited edition CD and/or digital version. Available in both high resolution WAV file and mp3, digitally. Purchase of CD includes instant download of digital version - a great deal offered by our partners at Bandcamp!
Buy the mp3 version of the album on iTunes.
"Unforgettable and essential. This is a major record." - Indiemusic (France)
The band's 7th album. A double-album available in both digital and double-disc CD versions."Sometimes in Dreams" via Bandcamp
The double-album available in both digital and CD versions via Bandcamp, who offer free instant high res download of digital album with purchase of CD.
The 28-track double-album available via iTunes and Apple Music.
Their sixth album, the band follow up their critically-acclaimed albums "Of Love And Loss" and "Angels" (Best Albums of the Year, 2013 & 2015 - Ground Control Magazine) with this breathtaking new work. "Eclectic, steadfast, powerful" - PopMatters. CD includes beautiful 20-page booklet with lyrics, vintage photos and narrative poems in the style of a Victorian book of verses.
BIPOLAR EXPLORER- DREAM TOGETHER
Review by Raphael Duprez
January 17, 2017
"..New York’s Bipolar Explorer offers a new album, their sixth, Dream Together (Slugg Records) which is as much a reverie as a dream burning and crawling gently under our bare skins. In perpetual search for the discovery of the unknown, the trio delivers a work as simple as it is majestic and pure.
The guitars charged with reverb and delay, voices and choruses distant but warm, all in an atmosphere as moist as light, like a refreshing breeze before the storm. Daring and emotionally naked, doubtless this record may undo some. But we must yield to the temptation, the inexorable attraction of these magical and nostalgic, deep and milky songs.
Alternatingly dark ("Thirteen", “View”), angelic and aerial (“Dream 3”), painful and urgent (“She Hears You Calling”), catching and cathartic, the album closes with the ten-minute epic "To The Other Half Of The Sky” - loaded with palpable electricity as well as an ultimate tour de force in softness - the group relaxing its muscles and leaving notes hovering long after its ultimate resonances.
Devilishly endearing, Dream Together offers that rare possibility for us to traverse vast lands, leaving so primordial a place for our imagination, all by means of sonics that are literally enveloping and vibrating. A LP that is drunk, slowly, to better quench thirst. A walk through the clouds, without worrying about the next day..." (- excerpt, translated from the original French)
Both the digital album (available as instant download) and limited-edition CD with beautiful 20-page booklet avail here via CD Baby.
Both CD and digital versions of the album on Bandcamp.
"LaBute territory with fresh angles and sustained tension" - The New York Times
"Hails the arrival of a writer with an acute sense of language and a special ability to dramatize human behavior through language that rivets with its imagery and humor" - The Star-Ledger
Indie publishers The Ginger Press present this first anthology of Michael's works for the theatre in both print and e-book form. With special dedication to his late-girlfriend, love and partner, Summer Serafin. This collection includes the plays District of Columbia, Seven Pages Unsigned, Real Real Gone, The "I" Word: Interns, Detail and Two From the Line. (c. 2014, The Ginger Press, Ltd.)"Collected Plays" via Amazon (Kindle)
"Brilliant. Ranging from moody shoegaze to jangly dreampop with a sturdy bit of the ruins of CBGB's ungirding the lot." - Ground Control Magazine
Released on New Year's Day 2015, this EP is Bipolar Explorer's follow-up to their acclaimed double-record (Ground Control "Album of the Year") Of Love and Loss. An electrifying and evocative collection of five new songs - recorded, according to the band, "live, noisily and in a hurry" at their studio in Hell's Kitchen."Angels" via CD Baby
Critic's Pick - Best Albums of the Year
"The most significantly stirring and addictive musical accomplishment we've come across in some time." - Ground Control Magazine
This double-record is of, for and about the group's fallen bandmate, Michael's Love & Partner, Summer Serafin. From NYC's premiere Minimalist Indie Dreampop Rock band...
"Of Love and Loss, the new record from NYC-based Bipolar Explorer is something of a departure from their previous work, it is at once quieter and more far-reaching. It is eclectic and spare, and altogether haunting.
The band, it turns out, was already staking out new ground before they recorded the first wave of songs for what would become this record. Having pared down to a drummerless core of two guitars, bass and vocals, BPX’s new sound was emerging as something more taut, emotional and urgent, and Serafin-Wells found himself writing different kinds of songs. “Somebody said of the last record that it was Westerberg meets Pavement by way of Wire, and that’s probably about right because that’s where we came from. But writing for this line-up and without drums changed that. And, of course, I met Summer and that changed everything,” he says, speaking of Summer Serafin, his love and partner, the band’s female vocalist. “I mean, she changed my life, clearly. But just in terms of the music, I think we started to go toward something that better served all that and closer to the kind of thing people – Low, Death Cab, Bon Iver – we love, were getting up to.”
Then, after a series of transcendent live shows and halfway into basic tracks for the new record, tragedy struck. Just thirty-one, Summer died from injuries sustained after an accidental fall.
Eventually picking up the pieces in the midst of their grief, the reconfigured band (with Jason Sutherland on second guitar and Eva Potter on bass) - armed with a second wave of songs written in the aftermath –completed the record, now a double CD. “It’s really of, for and about her”,
Michael says of Of Love and Loss. “My everything”.
Perhaps fittingly and, I learn, entirely intentionally, the post and pre-tragedy batches of songs are interwoven together. “Yeah, it’s not chronological”, he tells me “in terms of when things were written. But I spent a lot of time on the sequence. Of both discs. What was on disc one or on disc two and where it went. And we tried to keep in mind doubles that we liked. Like Zen Arcade. Or Being There. To tell this story.” Love is a mixtape, I think to myself, because Of Love and Loss isn’t merely a collection of songs or anything as prog as a quote/unquote concept album.
It’s more a testament. A testament of love which leaves one with more emotions than thoughts, in a way. Alive, infused with love and spirit and resurrection – Summer’s presence palpable and ever so slightly haunting (that word, again) – in a magical way.
“We just wanted to be together all the time and I just wanted to write for her. And she was so fucking magic intuitive. I mean, you can hear it on the tracks. Especially the one that closes Disc two, the second version of “Moulding,” which is essentially a rehearsal with me playing through my practice amp and the both of us singing a new song and the whole thing recorded just for reference on my iPhone. For reference. Thank god I have it. Not just because I fucking miss her, but – and this is why it’s on the album and this is why it closes the album – she follows everything I do with the most incredible sensitivity. Her harmony is unusual and perfect – this is why I say Low and X, she’s like Exene or Mimi – and she goes from loud or quiet, light head voice to deep chest voice not just when she hears me go but in the exact instant that I do. It’s not a moment later, it’s right fucking on it. Like telepathy. She knows where I’m going before I do, even. And all of her stuff on the record is like that. And we did those parts in one four-hour session because we didn’t ever imagine that we wouldn’t be back to do more. And that’s also why there’s so much outtake spoken word stuff of hers – like "talkback" – on the record. If Summer was here, there wouldn’t be any need for it – and she’d never allow it, probably – but I just wanted people to get the most visceral sense they possibly could of what a delight it was to be in a room with her. And another thing, it wasn’t just me bringing her along. She turned me on to some amazing music that I frankly did not even fucking know about. Goldfrapp for one. And you can hear Allison in Summer’s vocals – “No Answer,” especially, which we wrote sitting on my futon in New York. I wish... I wish like hell she was here. Not only because she was the love of my life and my best friend and my partner but because she made this band amazing and I wanted to make records with her forever.”
I’ve always imagined the greatest gift to someone we’ve lost, to their memory, is to live a stronger life than we did before, so that they can be proud of us from the beyond. The memories of them here are all we are guaranteed. Hearing this story could give one more courage to carry on. That indeed may be the greatest legacy of this testament to love.
“Every last step of this – the final mixes, the final mastering, the final art (the double CD comes with a collage poster of photos and an incredibly arresting cover, Alex Alemany’s painting “Mediterraneo”) – it was really hard to let go of because it felt like something was ending, “ says Serafin-Wells. “But, playing these songs out – and we’re not trying to replicate Summer’s vocals, no one could – it’s still something going forward. It’s like a kind of prayer to her and we know, we can feel it – she’s around.”
- Ground Control Magazine (May 2013)
Hailed as "eclectic, steadfast and powerful" (PopMatters) and "taut, urgent and altogether haunting" (Ground Control) NYC's Bipolar Explorer bring their emotive, moody indie-rock dreampop vibe to this new collection of Christmas songs. Featuring one original holiday composition and new arrangements of four traditional carols, recorded, according to the band, "live, noisily and in a hurry" at their studio in Hell's Kitchen.
"New York’s minimalist indie rockers Bipolar Explorer are poised to release two new EPs this month: Angels, the follow-up to their celebrated double-record Of Love and Loss (Slugg Records) as well as a Christmas EP entitled BPXmas (out now digitally and as a CD on December 17). Indeed, I have it on as I write this. I’m not entirely certain what I expected but it’s kind of brilliant. And voluntarily having selected “repeat all," I have to say it’s getting under my skin.
Christmas music. It’s a dodgy prospect. I’m not sure I can take another holiday season hearing Sir Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” as I stamp about Trader Joe’s looking for some decent French Roast. But I wouldn’t mind at all coming across BPX’s moody “Emmanuel”, haunting “In The Bleak Midwinter” or their downright raucous “The First Noel” (yeah, they went there…) in any grocery aisle. There’s even a kind of joy in their ghostly half-German, half-English cover of “Silent Night." It may be more Joy Division than Joy to the World, but that might actually be a good thing.
BPXmas (a mash-up play on words of the band’s acronym, BPX, and that of Christmas itself) is comprised of those four traditional carols - in new arrangements ranging from moody shoegaze to jangly dreampop with a sturdy bit of the ruins of CBGB’s undergirding the lot – plus one new original composition, “It’s Christmas, Sweetheart," penned by frontman, lead guitarist and singer, Michael Serafin-Wells.
Inevitably, The Ghosts of Christmases Past attend and inform the proceedings – like every Bipolar Explorer record, this one is dedicated to the memory of their fallen bandmate, Michael’s late-girlfriend and partner, Summer Serafin, who died in a tragic accident in 2011 at the age of 31. But somehow that very gravitas only adds to the shimmer of this collection of tracks – it anchors them, still finding the very holiday-appropriate voicing of gratitude for ever having found “a life of love, so better led”, as Serafin-Wells sings to her on “It’s Christmas, Sweetheart," the EP’s opening track...
- "Bipolar Explorer Work a Double-Shift Through the Holidays" - Ground Control Magazine, Dec 7, 2014