“Starlights Gloom”
(Inner Islands)

Stag Hare, we hardly knew you. Saying farewell to any artist we love is always a hard thing, and it’s no less difficult realizing that this is Willow Skye-Biggs’s last go-round under the current moniker. Stag Hare has always been such a go-to concept for melancholy ambient tunes, and it’s also been the obviously-in-love-with-humanity celebration soundtrack for the meditative set (see, specifically, the 4CS set Tapestry), so it stands to reason that there’s no shortage of contemplative electronics and synthesizer flourishes on STARLIGHTS GLOOM. Recorded with Skye-Biggs’s son in mind over a period of multiple years, the tracks on STARLIGHTS GLOOM pulse with nocturnal energy, flitting through forest clearings like pixies in search of mischief. This quick-moving Stag Hare is somewhat unusual given the slower burn of earlier releases, but the 4/4 rhythms and indebtedness to an environmental, arboreal vitality is a welcome diversion, and a fitting endpoint. Even with the beats and periodic vocals, this Stag Hare release retains the classic Stag Hare hallmarks: an embrace of the natural world, of people, of peace, and a musical color palette that’s inviting and mesmerizing all at once.  As with most Inner Islands releases, STARLIGHTS GLOOM is an inward-facing document, but it’s the one closest to realizing personal wholeness and bursting outward to engage more than just the self. Knowing that, I can’t wait to hear what Willow Skye-Biggs comes up with next. What, did you think that just because she gave up the Stag Hare name that she’d simply disappear into the ether? You’d be dead wrong! (Well, I hope you would be anyway. Here’s to more music!)

Stag Hare                                                                                                                                                                                    Inner Islands

--Ryan Masteller