Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
The way that the post-midnight hours screw with our heads is always interesting to examine. It's amazing the things you can think you hear and see in the dark, when all you're seeing and hearing is the dark. That old house you're in, even if it's not that old, just groans its way through the changing of the temperatures, sounding like small explosions, like nails popping and boards breaking. It's not hurting. It's just breathing. The problem comes when you're out of it, when you've been sleeping for a good while and something startles you out of your slumber, forces you to bolt upright, believing that SOMETHING woke you up. There must be something there, or you'd still be sleeping. You aren't satisfied with logically deducing that nothing's there, that you were just disturbed internally. You'd somehow much prefer there to be an outside reason for your now not sleeping - something to blame it on.
But there's nothing, except for the various intrusions that you try to create. You fix your eyes on the perimeter of the wall, on the other side of the room, where the dirty laundry has spilled out of the hamper and is now slumped like dark shapes on the floor. You're pretty sure you see the halting and starting of a creature there. It's a mouse. You're eyes are twitchy and cock-eyed. They're sure they're seeing something - the slightest of movements, like the quiver of that thin tail silently thwacking the baseboard. It's nothing. There isn't a single thing there, but you stare hard for five minutes, sure that you're not a loon. You KNOW there's something there with you, not just your sleeping wife in bed next to you.
It's this very feeling of paranoid certainty that New York's Anya Skidan has a way of encouraging out of us in certain moments during this four-song session, her first. She creates moods that make you think that something else is up. It's as if you're able to live outside of your sides for a second, or for five minutes, before you're able to determine what's real and what isn't. She doesn't keep suspended there for that long - starting in the darkened corners for skittering and scuttling - pulling you out of there and throwing you back into the fragrant breezes of your dreams - trading one murky moment for another, where there are no worries and only worries. It can feel like a psychotic vacation or one that was worth every penny you spent on it - perfect beyond your expectations. The tan you got was just the right shade and you're still full from the buffet. Lingering somewhere in there, however, are the strange tingles that will present themselves again, when the house grows temporarily quiet and your head goes to rot.