Fosil Sangiran

Khayal Kuno

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Fosil Sangiran is the pseudonym for Seattle polymath Matt Shoemaker (1974-2017). The two recordings that have been uncovered from his archives under this moniker were recorded during a lengthy sabbatical in Java, Indonesia between 2012 and 2013. Though these works both operate very clearly within Shoemaker's aesthetic, he choose to operate under this moniker to provide a clarifying distance from what he believed to be his commonplace birth name. Sangiran refers to the UNESCO world heritage site in Indonesia where numerous archeological discoveries have been made providing insight into the understanding of early human development. It's an apt metaphor to his churning arrays of psychotropic sound design, which give the allusion of being distressed from aeons of jungle rot.

Khayal Kuno represents one of several detours that Shoemaker undertook over his career. Instead of the long-now drone mutations, Shoemaker turns his attention to an interplay between warbling cassettes and primitive rhythm-box sequencing. The minimal, proto-techno explorations suitably evolve slowly out an initial dispersion bloom from swarms of cassette splutter and insect mimesis. Cast within his slinkies-as-spring-reverb contraptions that provided a signature Kirlian glow to his work, Shoemaker's foray into the realm of the rhythmic are masterful declarations of his under-recognized talents. Through his brilliant aptitude for cross-hatched filtering, spatialized modulation, and electro-magnetic tricknologies, his stark pulsations take on organic qualities through a surging fluidity and a varispeed vortex of blank hypnosis. His motorik pulsations recall a rich if elusive vein of taut, industrially minded electronica sculpted by Monoton, Nord, Omit, and Conrad Schnitzler at his most laser focused.

Pasar Fosil is classic Shoemaker. At the core to this album is an ur-drone sculpted from electro-acoustics, analog synthesis, and most probably a radically altered field recording here or there. All of these accretions of sustained tone organize themselves with a rhizomatic logic of recombinant twists, folds, and mutations. Elegant harmonics with golden, clarion hues set the stage to this album, but Shoemaker would never allow for any his compositions to merely stand as polite ambient music. No. He deftly introduces sheared metallic timbres and rasping dissonance that tug with a gravitational heft. By the second half of the album, Shoemaker plunges into aural thickets that are openly hostile to the listener, articulated through allusions to a humid claustrophobia and radioactive toxicity. Even compared to the muscular minimalism of Organum, Pasar Fosil is unsettling as it is exquisite.

These two posthumous recordings celebrate the life and art of Matt Shoemaker who took his own life in 2017. The release of these albums coincides with an exhibition of his work at the Jack Straw Cultural Center in Seattle, Washington from April 13 to May 18, 2018. A memorial concert in Matt’s honor will be held at the Chapel Performance Space also in Seattle, with performances by Climax Golden Twins, Jim Haynes, Colin Andrew Sheffield, and Dave Knott on May 5, 2018.

“Shimmering fields of sound that elide back and forth between semi-recognisable human shapes and completely abstracted electronic fields of impossibility.” - The Sound Projector

“The curious blending of sounds makes for repeatedly rewarding listening experiences; there are so many little details that only total immersion reveals them.” — Brainwashed

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