A quick read of its text snippet description, and a glance at its surrealist cut-and-paste cover art makes it abundantly clear the self-titled CDR of North Carolina's Tretetam is a quietly abstract affair. Tretetam relies primarily on synth and found sounds, accompanied occasionally by other instruments as he crafts ambient pieces to occupy the space between conscious and subconscious.
Tretetam's self-titled is a sporadic in nature. Never straying from his synth and found sounds, he uses these to paint various fragments of portraits that make up the disconnect between reality and dream. Much like the famed Dali painting "Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening," Tretetam's pieces convey hazy landscapes being permeated by the sounds and feelings of the waking world, their presence becoming manifest in the subconscious realm. People in conversation, mowers, birds chirping.
Amongst the swirling drift of "Pacific Coast Feather" church bells ring out, conjuring up memories of mild Sunday mornings. Footsteps and snippets of conversations in foreign languages cover the choppy synth of "Natvar." "Data Bus" features watery samples, voices, rowing, hammers hitting wood-- all accompanied by a reverberating bass tone that comes through in waves. "Microdine" is fairly straightforward in comparison, with cheesy synths that sound like they were pulled from a 1970s cult sci-fi film.
"Valtest" is perhaps even more conventional. Centering on a simple looped melody, this track recalls the work of James Kirby's Caretaker project in that it sounds like lost recordings from another dimension, albeit more fractured. Tretetam uses an autoharp on "Advanced Specialty," cultivating another quiet melody, joining it with mower-on-lawn and yet more conversational chatter from old television. I'm fairly certain I heard the lawnmower sample prominently used on a track from Burning Star Core's "Challenger" release last year. The commonality of these found sounds across the CDR are are understandable given the concept, but they tend to undermine the intricacies of Tretetam's work.
These floating shards from dream journals are captivating at times, but can also grow tiresome. Tretetam's reliance on commonly found sounds dulls his effort a bit, although I suspect this approach was most likely necessary to properly project the thoughts of one caught between the fantastic and the mundane. Unremarkable as a whole, but still respectable and worth a look for its finer moments. 6/10 -- Robert Oberlander (12 August, 2009)