Local musician contributes ‘lost’ post-shoegaze album
Poler Bear has served as a way to turn my abject boredom and sleepless nights into something productive. The album, So Long, Lonesome was born out of a dormant winter; long stretches of cold periodically punctured by instances of inspiration that stemmed almost entirely from my obsession with post-rock music, most notably Jonsi and Alex’s Riceboy Sleeps, Explosion in the Sky’s All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone, and Godspeed You Black Emperor!’s Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven.
I remember watching French films from the 1950’s and 60’s during that winter – Albert Lamorisse’s The Red Balloon and White Mane – and I am almost certain that beer played a contributing role in the recording of the album, in addition to propagating an inability to grasp a basic understanding of the French language.
I spent hours pouring over the aforementioned albums, wondering how it was that they could perform songs that lasted for what seemed to be an eternity, culminating in my feeling both amazed and pissed off by their ability to turn 10 minutes of orchestrated chaos into a soundtrack that perfectly embodied the uncertainty and anxiety that I felt then. 20 and without a sense of intentional direction. Depressing, I suppose, but a situation that I am sure many have found themselves in. So for me, So Long, Lonesome, born amidst the clutter of uncertainty and dirty clothes strewing the floor of a cold bedroom in my parent’s house, was my attempt at making something that could bring me some semblance of self.
I wanted to evoke in those who listen(ed) to this album the same sense of ‘need for creation’ that I felt during its recording. The songs began as short, 2 or 3 minute long recordings of spontaneous ideas. Over time, these ideas were progressively added to until the short ideas grew into 10 minute long songs; my attempts at creating a mood piece equal in length to the songs that I was listening to then. I wanted to make something that somebody could fall asleep to, or listen to while staring blankly at a wall wondering what the hell the vocals and sounds were communicating, if anything at all.
The album is whatever the listener wants it to be. A source of anything, for whatever reason. I know now that this music has been something that I can feel entirely proud of and I am thankful to those who have listened to it and have spent time trying to establish some sense of place for it, in whatever capacity it serves.
Context aside, I am still listening to the same albums as I did during the winter of 2010. I continue to rewatched the same French films, and at times I still feel just as directionless as I did during the months I spent recording this album. But whatever… C’est la vie!
– Contributed by Josh Robinson