Previously unreleased in any form, the seven tracks comprising “Brengenging Sala” (with a running time of more than 73 minutes) offer a true overview of Matt Shoemaker’s genius as a master sculptor of potent and affecting sound art. His trademark haptic tones and scraping feedback build tension; his elegant electronics provide guidance; and his scrupulously curated field recordings articulate the sense of place requisite for full immersion in this sound world. Perhaps unexpectedly, a hitherto seldom-heard flair for melody and profound sentiment features in this album as well, putting the final touches on a portrait of the artist at the absolute top of his craft. Without a doubt, Shoemaker’s greatest strengths as a composer are plainly audible in this stunning collection, making “Brengenging Sala” a hugely valuable addition to his peerless discography.
Created for use in a film about his beloved Solo (Surakarta in Central Java, Indonesia), “Brengenging Sala” easily stands on its own as a fully realized work. These recordings were expertly sequenced, mixed, and mastered by Shoemaker himself in 2015, well before his untimely passing in 2017, but have remained unpublished until now. The film, a documentary by Matt Dunning, is unfinished as of this writing. Shoemaker’s music, however, exists in a completed state, powerful and sophisticated, and is ready to be heard. It is a complex and moving tribute to his favorite city, one as multifaceted as the place itself.
The CD packaging is based entirely on photographs Shoemaker took in and around Solo, showcasing many dimensions of the locale: the chaotic beauty of the city, the wide open serenity of the coastal cliffs, the beguiling mystery of the forests and caves.
“Brengenging Sala” is released digitally and as a compact disc in an edition of 300 copies in an exquisite six-panel digipak.