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- Handbook For Mortals by Letha Rodman-Melchoir
7/10 Clinton Staff review, 19 December 2013
An odd release for Siltbreeze as it eschews the usual gritty lo-fi underground rock for something a little more esoteric using unusual sounds in order to create a quite disconcerting sound collage.
Letha Rodman-Melchior is the wife of troubadour Dan Melchior but don’t use him as a comparison either as this is a different kettle of yams to his bluesy lo-fi thrash. The album is a relentless series of found sounds and field recordings. From the eerie whistle on ‘Send in the Clowns’ to the train put through a reverb unit on ‘Bay of Dew’ the album is full of wierd noises such as slowed-down voices, radio static, the sound of people outside doing things. Suddenly, apropos of nothing, a jaunty little tune breaks out on a toy synthesizer before random sax renders the whole thing incomprehensible.
It seems that, not content with making a difficult, slightly disturbing but somehow soothing piece, Rodman-Melchior is putting things in there (ie the dreaded sax) to make it even more unpalatable to the casual listener. However, each side opens with found piano which is the most musical thing on the platter and the atmospherics that recall some Lynchian nightmare, sounds heard from an open window in a caravan on the edge of a trailer park, near to a mysterious factory. All kinds of spookiness buzzing through the air and being caught by an ever rolling tape recorder.
9/10 Letha Rodman Melchior Customer review, 20th April 2014
Sorry to correct you, but the unpalatable, dreaded sax is actually a clarinet - played by me; and a lot of the piano is played by me (I don't know how to play - I just do it). But you are right some of the piano field recordings are from the Duke Cancer Clinic I go to. It's fantastic that they have a piano in the lobby that anyone can go on - I like to catch people singing - or playing. Thanks for the stars!
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