SABRIEL’S ORB “Skin to Skin” C40 (Inner Islands)

Sometimes you get yourself so tightly wound up and nervous that you have to stretch – like a full-body stretch, the way a cat would do – and it sort of helps mid-stretch, but once you’re done the sensation of nerves is almost doubled, so that even though you’ve alleviated it a bit for a moment, you’ve actually kicked it into a much higher gear. Uneasy anticipation, fear and joy all worked and kneaded together within you, can exhilarate as well as enervate. When that feeling decides to hang around for any length of time, you have to try to do something about it, otherwise it can overwhelm you.

That’s where Willow Skye-Biggs, once Stag Hare, enters as Sabriel’s Orb, and it’s Skye-Biggs’s intention to explore similar feelings, “where the ends of joy meet the ends of grief, how ecstasy can also be melancholy, the way so many beautiful moments can contain so many emotions at once.” On Skin to Skin she draws out these complex emotions evenly, allowing them to flow like a “dark river of energy, saturated in longing, in sadness, in desire, in hopefulness.” That’s a great way to approach Skin to Skin, as a lengthy, drifting body, serene yet apprehensive, looking to the future/horizon yet rippling through difficult passages along the way. It’s an apt metaphor for actual human feeling.

And that’s how Skin to Skin goes as it makes its way toward the mouth of the energy river, toward whatever’s beyond that. But it never actually gets there, it just promises to record the passage. And that’s probably the more honest result – the continual motion and ever-changing, though barely perceptible, perspective as hues subtly shift along the bank. It does act as a mellow-outer, diffusing the tension and promoting a relative calm. Another winner from Inner Islands.