message to bears Departures (hand numbered 180g vinyl LP, £18.95)
This limited to 250 copies LP is housed in a beautiful "tip-on" sleeve. Message to Bears is the moniker of multi-instrumentalist Jerome Alexander who creates beautiful soundscapes by overlaying acoustic guitar lines, piano, percussion, samples and strings. Highlights are too many to mention. "Hidden Beneath" plays with a four-to-the-floor dance beat, but what really matters is Alexander's guitar-picking, a shining, bell-like sound so distinctive he could almost patent it. "Pretend to Forget" is heart-crackingly desolate, with a gorgeously dissonant cello and violin part to complement the intricate guitar work. "Hope" dispenses with the guitars, leaving the strings to work the magic. Beginning with a series of mighty, sustained chords redolent of Barrington Pheloung's scores for Inspector Morse, the track then expands majestically with the introduction of tremoloed triple-time violins and further deepening of the chord structure by the addition of inner parts. This is the sound of a popular composer at his meridian. Message to Bears currently performs as a six piece band, featuring acoustic guitars, violin, viola, drums and bass guitar.
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