The Helen Scarsdale Agency is deeply saddened by the death of Matt Shoemaker. He died on August 12, 2017.
Matt was an artist from Seattle, Washington, whose work with sound manifest as some of the most singular, densely compacted, carefully arranged, and hauntingly beautiful transmissions we have not only published but also experienced. Unfortunately, his work remains unknown to many; yet those who take the time to experience it are inevitably transfixed.
His first works were published through the highly influential Trente Oiseaux label, which helped pioneer the microsound / lowercase aesthetic at the turn of the millennium. A visionary beyond contemporary trends of the institutional avant-garde, Shoemaker never fit comfortably on that label's roster. His work radiated a blossoming intensity through the treatment of sonic phenomena. These began through the manipulated field recording, then incorporated modular synthesis exploration and later with profoundly convoluted systems of electro-acoustics that involved room resonance, feedback systems and even long slinky-esque springs. The Helen Scarsdale Agency had the enormous pleasure of publishing two works from Shoemaker – Spots In The Sun (2007) and Erosion Of The Analogue Eye (2009). Both of these albums are slippery and cryptic in their morphology, deliberately articulating sonic details while refusing any single associated set of ideas. Matt once stated, "Obviousness is my art's antithesis."
Shoemaker leaves behind an impressive catalogue that extends to our friends at Elevator Bath, Mystery Sea and the Masters Chemical Society. He was also an accomplished painter, rendering an equally quizzical visual language of molten, subcutaneously exposed figures. Few had the privilege of seeing this work as it was never exhibited, beyond his instagram channel.
Though grieving in this loss of an artist and a friend, The Helen Scarsdale Agency only seeks to celebrate Matt and his work. Thus, the two aforementioned albums – Spots In The Sun and Erosion Of The Analogous Eye – will be made available for free. Yes, this does include the handful of physical discs remaining in the Agency's inventory in addition to the downloads at Bandcamp. Those seeking his physical publications will be asked to pay for shipping.