The premature vanishing of a skilful artist is hard to handle. In Matt Shoemaker’s case, the sorrow is underscored by our difficulty in recognizing the defeat of talent against the interior pain that pushed him to commit suicide at only 43 years of age. The varying dimensions of Shoemaker’s inventiveness, observed and heard now, seem to point at two fundamental issues. The first is the necessity – typical of any intelligent/sensible being – of acquiring non-fictional data on the nucleus of existence, beyond the simplistic verbal rendering of extramundane conjectures. The second lies in the suppression of unproductive mental activities via assorted gatherings of indeterminate sounds.
Besides the output at his own name Shoemaker had recorded this music in 2012 and 2013 under the Fossil Sangiran moniker, born from an Indonesian sabbatical he took in the same period. That the tapes were discovered after the end of his earthly cycle is revelatory of the man’s modesty; we should be grateful to the Shoemaker family for having granted Helen Scarsdale’s Jim Haynes the permission to publish the material. When one thinks of the heaps of archival mullock thrown out nowadays for an easy buck, the profundity of this release symbolizes a heavenly justice of sorts.
Both albums consist of a pair of extended pieces, yet they are quite dissimilar in terms of sonority despite obvious links between their critical integrants. Khayal Kuno exhales vague post-industrial fumes in our (theoretical) collocation of the sources. Throbbing mesmerism and unremitting pulses originate an expanding magma of morphing acoustic ectoplasms, occasionally deriving from the debris of primitive rhythm boxes and tape machines. Pasar Fosil is a stunning exemplification of enigmatic droning, at once intoxicating and mighty. In spurts, it conveys the idea of a sacred choir of nuclear turbines surrounded by thick smog, strident insertions and synthetic swellings enhancing the listener’s gradual loss of rational gravity inside the textural unbrokenness.
Playing the four tracks consecutively is suggested; they are, so to speak, a sonic via crucis leading to the intuition of something that is neither explainable by cold numbers, nor acceptable through blind belief. In the meantime, the new combination of Shoemaker’s particles has probably advanced to a superior stage of real knowledge.