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The Sound of Melting Pewter

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Few sounds become as routinized as those of one’s own workplace. The process of routinization breeds familiarity, which in turn lends these everyday sounds something akin to transparency. We learn to listen past them, to listen through them, even when they have an intensity that visitors might find distracting, or even annoying. For his new release Oído con plomo, the Colorado-based musician and sound artist C Reider has created a single track that is three quarters of an hour in length and that is comprised of recordings made at the pewter casting studio where he has been employed for 17 years. The sounds move back and forth between drone and rhythm, often situated in a space somewhere in between. Sometimes the sounds are especially peculiar, standing out from the tapping and whirring of machines. Around a fifth of the way through, for example, there are tonal elements like dolphin song, alternating with the fundamental activities of what suggest the manual manipulation of materials.

As antiquated as the idea of pewter casting may seem, the modern world invades on occasion, as when what appears to be the sound of telephone ringing appears. Much of Oído con plomo is the thick white noise of background activity. The source audio was recorded in 1999 and 2013. Reider’s piece brings to mind Vanessa Rosetto’s recording of the process of packing boxes of books, and Lauri Warsta’s fictional audio work “Dictaphone Parcel” of a box experiencing surveillance as it is packed and shipped.


The release is available for free download from the netlabel Impulsive Habitat. For those unfamiliar with the concept of a “netlabel,” it is an online record label that actively, purposefully makes its releases available for free download. There are as many as 500 of these netlabels currently in existence around the world.

The Reider Oído con plomo file is not easily streamable here because it is only available as an MP3 in a Zip file, or as a standalone FLAC, or as a FLAC in a Zip. Both Zips include the cover art. Get the album at More from Reider at his outpost, which houses two netlabels that he administers: Dystimbria and Derivative.