Handbook For Mortals


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Known by the alias Tretetam, Letha Rodman-Melchior has released singular sound constructs on CDR and cassette since 2008 on such labels as Ikuisuus and Robert & Leopold. For her first-ever vinyl release, she sheds the veneer of mystery and comes clean with this sweeping haboob of sound, as deft and defying as horns on a hen. From the vantage of time and deep insight, some (i.e. Tom Lax) say Tretetam / Rodman-Melchior’s unique audio gems find a middle ground between United Dairies (notably HNAS) and Vanity Records (ditto Mad Tea Party). But why not the let the artist herself fill you in on the Handbook for Mortals backstory? 

“From early on, I found that I liked listening to blended sounds of familiar things; TV, lawnmowers, children playing outside. I noticed that when I played records, I wouldn’t flip them over because I found comfort in hearing the needle stuck in its groove. 

“When I lived in Chinatown on Canal Street in New York, I loved to lay in bed and listen to the vendors shouting, blending with the heavy traffic and tiny wind chimes; I would pretend I was someplace else, somewhere I didn’t know. I love that feeling. “I became interested in field recording after hearing Salmon Run by Graham Lambkin, and had found a website called The Quiet American. I began piecing my tracks together under the name Tretetam, and was influenced by Lambkin, Marcel Türkowsky, Emiliano Maggi, Moondog, Maya Deren’s films and more recently Aaron Dilloway’s Modern Jester and Ryan Martin’s York Factory Complaint / DeTrop. I also must say my husband Dan Melchior has been my musical hero since I met him in 1999.”