Message To Bears
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Message To Bears

Oxford, England, United Kingdom | INDIE

Oxford, England, United Kingdom | INDIE
Band Folk Classical

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"LP Re-issue Fluid Radio"

“How did this one slip my radar?” These the thoughts of a reviewer left startled after a first listen through ‘Departures,’ the debut full length release by musician Message to Bears. Originally available as a limited edition CD in 2009, other listeners will thankfully be treated to a re-release in 2011, this time as a Vinyl only release.

Message to Bears is the moniker of multi-instrumentalist Jerome Alexander. Creating delicate soundscapes through looped guitar, strings, percussion and samples, the music presented is intimate, emotive and heartfelt. Best classified as an album of acoustic excellence, “Departures” successfully collates sounds from folk and classical music’s past, in turn meshing to form a contemporary fusion of these inspirations.

Listeners will taken through songs layered with vocal hums, plucked guitar and strings like on numbers such as ‘At The Top Of This Hill,’ ‘Autumn,’ ‘Find Our Way Home’ and ‘Hidden Beneath.’ On some of these tracks, including the excellent ‘Snowdonia,’ the addition of glitch ridden beats and audio samples are woven into the mix, providing a sense of the modern world to fuse with these reflective sounds of yesteryear.

Elsewhere they will hear fine examples of present day classical sounds. The string filled movements on ‘Hope’ providing sombre moments, while samples of rainfall blend well with the weeping bows and cinematic piano of ‘November.’

The music travels through this album at a graceful speed, with each song capable of inspiring hope, whilst also clutching at more mournful emotions. Indeed this juxtaposition of emotive qualities is found in strong voice on ‘Running Through Woodland’ a track whose sadness is conveyed through guitar, with warm strings offering signs of healing.

‘Departures’ comes as a surprise both in its quality but also as it has taken a couple of years for its creator to now be known to this reviewer. However, this surprise is most definitely a pleasant one, as the album will no doubt be enjoyed thoroughly forthwith. He can now only encourage listeners to do what is sensible and make this record an essential entry into their collections. - Fluid Radio


"Future Sequence Departures review"

“As the arpeggios descend amongst the lush strings, Alexander produces an emotionally stimulating set, echoing the same ‘Britishness’ as Nick Drake. When he lends his vocals, in a lacksidaisical daydream way it is as if everything comes together in melancholy and intensity – seen no better than on ‘Find Our Way Home’. Even if we have drifted off our path, and are lost, these songs provide reassuring pathways back home. ‘Hidden Beneath’ again echoes a Drake style rolling plucking style, a steady beat backing. Emotion can found then in the resolution of being lost, and finding oneself again. In this sense Departures is a magically earthy piece, full of hope that will warm the heart. Alexander’s talents in blending orchestral folk with ambient with this level of depth could find no better home than on vinyl.” FUTURE SEQUENCE - Future Sequence


"Album of the week - Norman Records"

“I was totally blown away. I had the whole goose pimple bumpy arm thing which I rarely get with new music these days. It’s gorgeous acoustic guitar music punctuated by some neo classical beauty. There’s some amazing tracks on here.. It’s a beautiful piece of music. Throughout the album there’s moments of sheer delight as the guitar and classical instrumentation work hand in hand perfectly. Some of the strings and chord progressions veer on the mardy side and remind me a bit of Max Richter at times. It’s all very emotive and moving. One or 2 of the tracks sound a wee bit like Tunng with the clicky electronics and acoustic guitar situation. Parts of it remind me of the Harps Old Master album by Phelan Sheppard and I think if you’re a fan of that particular thing of lovelyness you’ll like this. It’s a complete fucking delight if I’m honest and it comes with my complete recommendation. Absolutely fantastic and I implore you to check it out!! “ NORMAN RECORDS - Norman Records


"5/5 - Mixmag Magazine"

"Jerome Alexander's (aka Message To Bears) first mini-album got full marks here, and he's done it again on another limited-run, hand-crafted CD. Sparkling acoustic guitars weave around heart-stopping cellos and haunting ambient effects to give the audio equivalent of dew-drops on grass turning into jewels at sunrise. Simply stunning." - 5/5 - Mixmag Magazine


Discography

EP1 (Dead Pilot Records) 2008
Departures (Dead Pilot Records) 2009
New Album TBC (Dead Pilot Records) 2010

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Bio

Message To Bears officially started in 2007 as the solo recording project of multi-instrumentalist Jerome Alexander.

Alexander creates beautiful soundscapes by overlaying acoustic guitar, piano, percussion, samples, strings and more recently vocals.

In 2007 he self-released his first set of recordings, simply titled EP1. This was packaged in handmade cases and limited to approximately 100 copies. After becoming out of print, Alexander began speaking with the then newly formed label Dead Pilot Records about releasing a re-issue. This was made available in 2008, again limited to 100 copies and again promptly became out of print.

Sharing similar ethos and being very happy with how the first release went, Dead Pilot Records and Alexander decided to work together again for Message To Bears’ second release, Departures. This album had more lush string arrangements, a higher quality recording style than of the more ambient and lo-fi EP1 and also the first introduction of voice. Limited to 500 CDs, the album was packaged in an organic case, wrapped in brown parcel paper and tied together with string. Every single copy also came with an individual, unique old photograph hidden inside. The CD is sold out but due for a re-issue on vinyl in 2011.

In the summer of 2009, Alexander played his first Message To Bears live show at the Jericho Tavern in Oxford. Band members included his close friends playing a wide variety of instruments.

Message To Bears has gradually become a more prominent live band featuring a set of members who bring a new aspect to Message To Bears, whereby the live performances are not merely replications of the recorded material.