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A worrier, childhood choir member, and unfocused student of many instruments, Sebastian Krueger marries the darker ornaments of baroque pop with lo-fi intimacy. Far from his Wisconsin roots and perfunctory piano lessons, he works out of a small Brooklyn apartment as Inlets, incubating songs over the course of months and creating short, dusty suites.
Thanksgiving of 2006 brought the free online release of Inlets' first offering, The Vestibule EP, an eight-song collection that won round praise from music blogs including Stereogum, Gorilla vs Bear, Said The Gramophone, and Le Blogotheque. Framed by eclectic layers of clustered woodwinds, brass, and percussive guitars, the record captured a personal and raw enterprise. The self-released Vestibule EP has since been downloaded over 40,000 times.
Rather than promote the new project, Krueger dug in and committed to the slow process of writing an ambitious collection of new songs. Now, Inter Arbiter picks up where Vestibule left off, but the scope is wider and the hues are sharper. Krueger has honed his arranging abilities, creating elegant high drama from bursts of strings and discord from jangly cheap guitars.
The somber piano placesetting of "" opens Inter Arbiter with wispy clouds of harmony. Delicate finger-picked banjo buoys "Great Exit Lights", taking dark woodwind deviations through themes of hibernation. "Bright Orange Air," with it's winding rhythmic guitars and choired choruses, is an ode to the psychotropic effects of municipal lighting, while "Sunfed Shapes" heaves over lurching reeds and angular chords as an elegy to idleness and want.
Inter Arbiter congealed in the free spaces between working full time at a civil rights organization, adhering to acceptable and neighborly hours for noisemaking, and recurrent existential crises. The self-recorded album has an unexpectedly broad three-dimensional impact for an effort managed nearly entirely within the spartan low fidelity confines of a small apartment bedroom.
Throughout the process of recording Inter Arbiter, Krueger remained a busy collaborator, assisting My Brightest Diamond with woodwinds, playing banjo with Feist on Saturday Night Live, and contributing to records by DM Stith and Marla Hansen. The new record includes help from friends like Beirut frontman Zach Condon, Dirty Projector's vocalist Angel Deradoorian, as well as cellist Maria Jeffers and violist Marla Hansen of the string quartet Osso.