“What will become of Christmas?” That is the question posed by film/TV composer, Eban Schletter, on his latest concept album, Eban Schletter’s Cosmic Christmas. In this yuletide odyssey, veterans of his acclaimed Witching Hour project perform Christmas classics and original songs. A storyline worthy of The Twilight Zone tells of a drifting military satellite, which encounters a mysterious series of signals, forcing the on-board computer to question all it was created to do.
The odd combination of Theremin and vibes interpreting timeless melodies serves as the musical spine of Eban Schletter’s Cosmic Christmas, but from there, a variety of styles and sounds coalesce into a greater whole. Layers of piano drift like stardust though the Vince Guaraldi classic “Christmas Time Is Here”; pulsing rhythms jettison a heroic “We Three Kings”; and “Silent Night” rises from a swirl of music boxes and keyboard oscillations. Joyous harmonies adorn original songs like “Send Christmas Into The Universe”. Grant-Lee Phillips turns in a stellar vocal in “What Will Become Of Christmas?”
In all, it is a sonic feast and a fun, while poetic, meditation on what Christmas means in light of the direction our world seems to be heading.
01. Countdown (0:40)
02. Send Christmas Into The Universe
Featuring Crissy Guerrero & Tracy DeNisi (4:20)
03. Christmas Time Is Here (3:45)
04. We Three Kings (4:58)
05. Space Baby One (0:24)
06. Computers – Part 1 (1:45)
07. Super Small (4:40)
08. Space Baby Two (0:22)
09. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear (3:45)
10. Who Is The Man With All The Toys? (0:26)
11. Carol Of The Bells (2:06)
12. Computers – Part 2 (2:05)
13. What Will Become Of Christmas?
Featuring Grant Lee Phillips (5:51)
14. Silent Night (5:07)
15. Computers – Part 3 (3:03)
16. Auld Lang Syne (2:12)
EBAN SCHLETTER TO BRING HIS “WITCHING HOUR” TO OGLIO RECORDS
Oglio Records has signed a deal that will bring Halloween back to the Witches. No, it is not a deal with the devil, it is with Eban Schletter, a prolific composer/songwriter for a September 30th release of his “Eban Schletter’s Witching Hour” project. For his “Witching Hour”, Schletter recruited many of his talented friends to perform a colorful array of creepy delights in what he calls “an art record in a children’s Halloween costume.” Including the obvious appropriateness for the timing of this release, he admits, “I made a point to avoid directly referring to Halloween. I wanted to do something that would work for full moons and solstices as well.”
Songs like “I’ve Created A Monster” pay a nod to Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s classic “Monster Mash”, the Theremin adorned “Incantation” and sinister “Half Past” (chiming exactly 30 minutes into the meticulously timed hour long record) display a musicality that seems to echo ghosts of songsmiths past. Independent sweetheart Jill Sobule singing “The Legend Of Lagunaloch Lake” and “Some Things To Know About Monsters” is genuinely haunting, as is Grant-Lee Phillips’ performance of the Brechtean “Forever Lurking”.
Humor is the record’s most potent potion thanks to Schletter’s long list of friends with stellar performances by Dave Foley (Kids In The Hall, News Radio), Tom Kenny (the voice of Spongebob Squarepants), Paul F. Tompkins (Best Week Ever, Mr. Show with Bob and David), Scott Aukerman (Mr. Show with Bob and David, The Sarah Silverman Program) as well as Freaks and Geeks alums Samm Levine and Dave (Gruber) Allen (The Naked Trucker, Gilmore Girls).
A coven of witches voiced by Crissy Guerrero (Mind Of Mencia, Ellen: The Musical), Laura Milligan (Tenacious D, Mr. Show), Tracy DeNisi (SpongeBob Squarepants, Ellen: The Musical) Carla Jimenez (Lady In The Water, Nacho Libre) and Kris McGaha (Curb Your Enthusiasm) provides the album’s through line, and Daamen Krall (The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The Nightmare Before Christmas) recites Poe-like passages with all the chills of Vincent Price.
While not a warlock, Eban Schletter is a freak of sorts and approaches his work with the mania of a mad scientist. Eclectic almost to the point of schizophrenia, his previous records have ranged from low-fi Americana to modern classical pipe organ music. But, it is his vast output in television and film that has earned him his living, and accolades including a Cable Ace Award and an Emmy nomination. His composer highlights include Mr. Show with Bob and David, SpongeBob Squarepants, Comedy Central’s Drawn Together and Ellen: The Musical. His film credits include the recent remake of The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd and many independent films.
1. Clock Strikes Midnight (featuring Kris McGaha)
2. Witching Hour
3. Incantation (eaturing Kris McGaha)
5. Ghoul Bash (featuring Dave “Gruber” Allen)
6. Dance of the Skeletons
7. Devil Doll (featuring Paul F Tompkins)
8. Ride Chariot Ride (featuring Daamen Krall)
9. Some Things To Know About Monsters (featuring Jill Sobule)
10. Curse of the Crooked Carousel
11. Forever Lurking (featuring Grant-Lee Phillips)
12. Half Past
13. Track 13
14. Bleh (featuring Samm Levine)
15. Zombie Man
16. The Legend of Lagunaloch Lake (featuring Jill Sobule)
17. I’ve Created A Monster (featuring Scott Aukerman)
18. Haunted Carnival (featuring Tom Kenny)
19. The Headless Hitchhiker of Highway 13 (featuring Dave Foley)
20. Happy Haunting Hosts
21. The Warlock’s Lullaby (featuring Daamen Krall)
22. Clock Strikes One (featuring Kris McGaha)
PAUL F. TOMPKINS AUDIO COMMERCIAL 2009 (Free Download)
VERNON WELLS AUDIO COMMERCIAL 2008 (Free Download)