Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry, Illustration based on a photo by Dawn Frary
Be careful where you're walking. Be mindful of where you're heading, what's in front of you, how sturdy the ground below you is. Look around you and pay attention to the surroundings as they are, not as you mind dumbly and blindly perceive them to be, just because they're always like that, because that's what they're known for - their consistency. So many of the things you take for granted never change and that is exactly why you take them for granted and why you can get away with doing it. The reason for the warnings today is because you're about to listen to a session taped by Iowa City's Skye Carrasco (who was formerly heard here a few years ago, as a college student at the University of Iowa, with a band she called Skursula). Cassasco's detailed universe is one that travels in a particular way. It's one that warps and curls. It advances and retreats, sometimes filling the room with a lovely slice of dinner music, the kinds of sounds that you'd hear silently as you sat over a meal of exotic tastes, an expensive meal eaten in a haunted castle, prepared by ghost chefs. It comes at you the way you'd expect a new dimension would introduce itself to you, spell and disbelief first. With her spooky and often playful violin playing and her plentiful and soaring vocals, Cassasco takes us down the rabbit hole time and time again, exposing us to a world that she's wholly created from scratch. There are elements of familiar voices in the way that she experiments, but her adventures are almost uniquely hers. She throws us into a movie that has bewildering moments of emotion, as if we were being barreled down upon by and out of control semi or as if we were sitting beneath the largest beehive any of us have ever seen in our lives and we're unable to move away from it - partially frozen, partially petrified and partially intrigued by what might happen next in the sequence. It's as if we're given over to her cluttered and sometimes cute imagination - filled with blueberries, strawberries, honeyed eyes, soft kisses and friendly woodland creatures - and just kept there until she feels that we're free to go. That makes it sound as if we're being held captive and we sort of are, but we're willingly captive, waiting to see what could be around the corner.