We are extremely excited to bring you an exclusive track from the upcoming Message To Bears album ‘Carved From Tides’…
On Message To Bears’ fourth LP Carved From Tides Jerome Alexander throws all caution to the wind and delivers an experience emotive enough to tug at every fibre in a heartstring. Released on 1st July, Carved From Tides sees Jerome eschew the arbitrary boundaries that have been erected between synthetic music and music made on more traditional instruments. Lead single ‘I’ll Lead You There’ is exemplary. Starting with a gloomy acoustic arpeggio that wouldn’t be out of place in the hands of Elliott Smith or Nick Drake, its folk-like textures are soon penetrated by a thudding beat over which collaborator Will Samson lends his tender reverberating vocals. The heart-wrenching mood of the arrangement lends it a depth of feeling that characterises the whole LP.
Jerome’s love of ambient music is highlighted in the opener ‘Never Be’. It’s a cinematic start to the album, replete with sweeping synths and strings. The muffled piano lends some rhythmic shape to its openness. It ends tempestuously, with thunderous bass raging against the dying synths as it refuses to go gently into the night. Of his mentality when creating Carved From Tides Jerome says:
The album is supposed to reflect a transitional period in one’s life, referencing change in circumstances, decisions, relationships with others and evolution as an individual, whether subtle or not, which thereby influences where you are now, and realising wherever you are now is ok, and that you are in a constant state of flux. When writing it, I was going through what felt like a very transitional period myself, and I guess this was my way of processing it.
The minimal lyrics throughout the album enable the different instruments to really tell the emotional narrative. ‘Blossom’ for instance, glides in with some lonesome swells but the violins sing of change, of moving on and reflection, but also acceptance. Throughout the LP the balance between electronic and organic is carefully regulated so that they both converge into one like the sea and the sky out on the horizon line.
Carved From Tides doesn’t overtly reference anything other than Jerome’s own musical instincts…
Lyrics are purposefully minimal, as I wanted the ambience and melodies to represent an equal amount if not more of the story. I’ve long admired Jon Hopkins’ ability to co-balance the electronic and the organic, which I feel came across here. I didn’t listen to much other music whilst I was recording this album, which is quite strange given that I’ve not worked like that before. I was influenced by my own personal feelings at the particular moments that I sat down to a piano, guitar etc. Starting with a texture often, an interesting sound manipulation and building music around that, creating visual scenes or stories in my head, figuring out the narrative as I went along.
True to his word, the record doesn’t aim at grand sweeping lyrical statements. The clues to its manifold feelings lie in the song titles. ‘Spin/Float’ features Jerome ethereally harmonising with his sister Gemma Alexander. The percussive effects give it a dizzying sense of spin while the ambient synths and slow acoustic guitar make it float in suspended animation. Similarly the beat on ‘They Ran’ sounds like an exhilarated heartbeat, communicating more of a sense of running than any lyric could.
Composed, recorded and produced between both his home and studio in North-East London over the past year, Carved From Tides is Jerome’s most sophisticated work yet. The title refers to the capacity of something fluid and transitional to be able to affect and mould what appears to be solid and stable over time. It is through the fluidness of Jerome’s approach – in not pigeonholing instruments with expectations of what sort of music they should make – that Jerome achieves just this. The fluidity of music itself is the tide that he carves his masterwork from. And the success he achieves here is solid indeed.