Eban Schletter Three Payments,
"A composer for several TV shows, including
"Casper - the Animated Series," and one-time
Emmy nominee for his music, Eban Schletter is an
unlikely country singer. Yet, Schletter has substantially
more respect for old-time country than most artists
on country radio.
Many songs here, with titles like "I've Got
Better Things to Drink About Than You" and
"If You Hear Me Playin' George Jones,"
are straight-ahead, tear-in-your-beer country music.
But Schletter also displays a quirky sense of humor
with "The Most Socially Accepted Mental Disease,"
and "Rain Dance" has an intriguing lyric
and Native American feel. The album's closer, "At
Least You Won't Be Lonely," treads closest
to mainstream country, as Schletter sings the pretty
tune backed only by acoustic guitar and harmonica.
Schletter self-produced and recorded this album,
playing all of the instruments and singing the lead
and backup vocals in a Hollywood studio. He doesn't
have the best voice, but his songwriting and arrangements
are creative and fresh while retaining ties to the
honky tonk of yesteryear."
Eban Schletter: Frontiers (Netherota - 1998)
"If the pieces on Frontiers by Eban Schletter
sound like the score to a spooky movie sequence,
that's probably because of Eban's background in
film and TV. And here's an interesting special effect
- instead of relying on extreme processing and bizarre
sounds, Schletter creates his magically dark atmospheres
with expressive arrangement of relatively straightforward
instrumentation. Mood music (with an emphasis on
the music) for twisted times.
Entering passages, the listener finds an eerie
atmosphere with sparse musical effects and hissing
breath. A flourish of synth chords erupts, as
do subtle tinkles, and later, brassy swells. Other
sounds are worked into the ever-changing mix,
including bells and a wavery, theremin-like oscillation.
Quite theatrical in presentation, the woodwind
and brass sounds which lead to discovery (5:01),
set another stage with ominously-lit apprehension.
Strings join in the form of frantic little plucks
and sonorous sheets. The brass re-enters in a
majestic layering, like light cascading down upon
some incredible find, which may or may not be
something wonderful. A chorus of female ahhs close
Rhythmic and rousing, spirit dances (11:28) passes
through many variations in its evolution. The
track opens on staccato percussion and a spritely
xylo-tune, which leads to powerful strings and
a grandly blaring pipe organ. String and flute
delicately take their turn with the main phrase.
Flutes of all varieties gather to form their own
little babble, followed by spacey whistlers in
the night. Harpsichord passages add finely-wrought
pre-colonial touches, before the automated rhythm
and string section return to finish what it started,
in a stirring crescendo which degenerates into
scattered twinklings. Subtle metallic tinklings
add even more mystery to the darkly looming swells
of brass and strings in transition, another cinematically
unfolding musical scene. In the disc's "weirdest"
interlude, a shimmering electronic miasma is accented
with tiny horn honks and sweltering vocal ahhs.
The waves of brass again roll like a cold, powerful
sea, and a flurry of icy tinklings fall to close
Whistles, bells, clunks, a shaker rhythm, bass,
hawaiian guitar and harmonica/accordian lead come
together in a sultry outing, the delusion dance.
A smooth intro, despite so many bits and pieces
stirred into the mix, at least until the layered
horn blares and bongos muscle in. The track returns
to its original hazy state with lots of pattering
beats scurrying about. Very interesting! Long
flows of vocal ahhhs (contributed by Laura Milligan,
Schletter's collaborator on other projects) and
a dreamy keyboard riff with light brushy percussion
give excavation a dig-ably lounge/Twilight Zone
feel. Laura's oohs and ahhs are layered and relayered
for a closing chorus of resonant siren sounds.
Perhaps my ears have grown unaccustomed to overt
"musical instrument" sounds; it took
a few listens to allow Frontiers to truly work
its magic upon them. Schletter's arrangements
are evocative and interestingly structured...
and garner a well-deserved 8.5 for his talent
(David J. Opdyke March, 1999)
Eban Schletter: The Civilian (Netherota - 2000)
"If your mental movies are in black-and-white
(and lean toward the horror genre...), Eban Schletter's
got the soundtrack for you... decorated with intricate
structures, 51-minute-long The Civilian is rendered
entirely in the bold churning monochrome of old-fashioned
church organ sounds.
Cinematic atmospheres of chiming activity lead
into Metropolis, to be juxtaposed with brooding
organ drones, interlaced with finger-exhausting
acrobatics, which set a mood of busy intrigue.
Softer chords trill and glide through Humble Beginnings
while Calling delves into spookier keyboarding
Reverberating layers ring out in different directions
as Decision (7:10) explores multiple sonic possibilities,
most of which are ominous-sounding. A bit of majesty
and medievalism dances through the darkly sparkling
activities of Undead (2:53). Twinkling Momentum
gains a chilliness from swiftly rotating note-cycles
and multi-level tones.
The deep spookshow blasts of Undercurrents and
the trepidatious lilt of Metamorphosis precede
the final act; Epilogue points toward a happy
ending, with brighter gleams and peppier stroking
of the keys
No beats. No fancy effects. No guitars, samples
or voices... it's all organ-ic! The disc is appropriately
packaged in tasteful gray on black, and the liner
notes include a bit of poetry for each track.
Using only old-timey cathedral organ sounds,Eban
Schletter does his own Phantom of the Opera thing,
painting grayscale soundscenes of Gothic grandeur,
sweet sorrow and imminent danger. Not ambient
as such, but decidedly picturesque and moody,
The Civilian offers an often-edgy 8.3 getaway
into the darkened recesses of your imagination."
(David J. Opdyke May, 2001)
Eban Schletter: "Frontiers" 1998, Netherota
"#1 - "Passages" - Melodic theme
established, no beats, large washes of synth elements.
Full sound, thick, but not dense and very colorful.
Chime elements, large bells.
#2 - "Discovery" - Much more distant ambient,
conventional sound elements (strings, horns), ambient
on a symphonic scale, with large, organized elements
of sound. Some parts on a grandiose scale. If this
is discovery, it feels like we've found something
really, really big. The vocals at the end return
#3 - "Spirit Dances" - Percussion, light,
playful but somewhat serious. great big church organs
blast in dramatically around 1:15. this is quite
a track...the melody carries throughout and in many
different forms. Impressive, lush, and beautiful.
Slows down a bit in the middle, moves along for
awhile on a harpsichord, sounds build up around
the harpsichord, slowly becomes more dense, back
to the light percussion from the beginning and the
opening themes repeat.
#4 - "Transition" - There's that theme
again, over deep, sustained chords, played likely
on a french horn. Vocals return - a series of "has",
"aaahs". Sounds like they're allowed to
repeat, echo off each other. Sort of like a cacophony
of lost souls. Eerie with a capital E...exquisitely
abstract as the theme on the french horn returns
through the voices.
#5 - "Delusion Dance" - Abstract percussion,
bass notes plucked out on a bass guitar. Sand shaker,
bongo(?), native drum with echo, southwestern guitar
(a-la Twin Peaks), and a Parisian-sounding harmonica.
All kinds of good stuff. An there goes the theme
from before. Completely far out, cool.
#6 - "Excavation" - Here comes those voices
again...feels bright...just the voices...chorus.
Then around 1:45, a dark marimba plays a melody,
very light drums and bass guitar play out a slow,
wispy, shifty glide...only the solo voices from
before now, along with the parisian harmonica. A
whistler duets with the solo voices. A revelation
of sorts. Dissolves back to the voices.
Comments: It's ambient music played with conventional
sounds, and that's where the bounds of normalcy
are left far, far behind. Parisian harmonica (I
think...unless that's an accordion), Southwestern
US electric guitar (played sparsely), native drums,
stringed instruments from Japan, a chorus of female
voices...strings and horns...towering pipe organs...all
brought together for an exquisite journey to, perhaps,
the edge of the universe. Quite an interesting adventure."