Matt Shoemaker
Spots in the Sun
CD HMS 008

Paris Transatlantic
by Lawrence English
May 2007

Helen Scarsdale spares no efforts in making her releases something special. Quite apart from their sonic content, the printing, paper stock and attention to detail are all commendable. This latest offering from Matt Shoemaker is another one for the shopping list [the first edition of 50 sold out fast, so you'd better get cracking with this second run of 400 – DW]. The realm of electroacoustic composition can be a slippery slope cluttered with all-too-familiar debris from former rockslides, but Shoemaker is sure-footed enough to arrive at destinations few of his contemporaries have managed to reach. As a result, Spots On The Sun is one of the most refreshing concrete records to surface in sometime. The treatments, source materials and compositions point equally to genuine experimentation and a studied understanding of his compositional approach. "2…" is a spellbinding sound-space activated by measured use of spatial techniques and well-positioned electronic and incidental sounds. Elements are brought into and out of hearing range with a precise execution, heightening the act of listening and resulting in a truly rich, cliché-free listening experience. As familiar as some of the source sounds may be, their recording and treatment keeps them at a conscious distance. It's like remembering a sound many years later; or, perhaps, this is the way we imagine sound to exist in our dreams. The pieces seem to be realised in a way we can't quite comprehend, focussing our attention and reinforcing our determination to understand the journey on which Shoemaker is taking us.