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Examples of Matthew Shenton’s work

Example 1: 'Stryance'

Stryance’ can be heard here or in the full video below - https://on.soundcloud.com/X8zQj

 

Information about the composition:

The idea for Stryance came to me in February 2022 whilst reading a copy of This Luminous Coast by Jules Pretty. Pretty’s book is a visionary look at the history of the East Anglian coastline, written after he walked its 400-mile path over a decade ago. In Chapter 2, he writes about the floods of 1953 where “the sea walls were breached in over 1000 places, and 300 people died in the dark.” The flood hit during the dead of night. People woke up to find their possessions drifting and bumping about by their beds. Waves slicked silently across the land in some places; they exploded through windows in others. It would take days for newspaper reports of the disaster to reach the rest of the country. When the water finally receded, a writhing mass of eels remained.

To say that Stryance was inspired by this subject matter would be trite. No one is inspired by such devastating loss. Stryance is, however, informed by Pretty’s writing. About the feelings that gripped me whilst reading his words one afternoon. About pressure constricting and releasing. About lessons not learned.

I needed Stryance to crawl, groan, hiss, drip, spit and spiral. The original sound sources have been chopped, stretched, pressed, spliced, eroded and obliterated. The percussive sounds are recorded tape loops of a child’s spinning top as it repeatedly twists and falls onto contact mics. A homemade hurdy gurdy drones and squeals and clanks. Matrix mixer feedback pierces the gloom. Hiss fades. Silence.

Stryance.

The title of Stryance came from an archaic word used in Suffolk and is derived from the verb ‘stry’ which is to spoil, waste or injure.

Credits:


Released physical and digitally on August 29, 2022 on Courier (A label based in Suffolk, England).

couriersound.bandcamp.com/album/stryance

Recorded and arranged between February and May 2022 using various homemade and modified instruments

Mastered by Ed Rome at Slam Door Studios

Watch the accompanying Stryance video below or here - youtu.be/H1Qqy90i_ek

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Example 2: ''bleached memories'

Available to stream on bandcamp (https://therearenobirdshere.bandcamp.com/album/bleached-memories)

Information about the composition:

'bleached memories' was self released in 2023. 

In 2019, I picked up an old slide projector from a charity shop and a bundle of random 35mm slides from eBay. I was unprepared for the powerful emotions and extreme feelings of responsibility that these purchases would create.

I returned to the slides In 2023 to explore both their physical properties and their potential for artistic inspiration. I altered the slides by adding household cleaner to them, before scanning and cropping the results to make a visual piece.

For the compositions the only sound source used was the projector itself. Various clicks, clunks and whirs of the mechanism along with hidden sounds picked up by a sonic sniffer were sampled, looped and manipulated digitally.

The result is bleached memories.

You can read a review of the album and find out more about the creation process  in my blog.

 

You can watch an accompanying video below or here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgddBSP2DDc

Additional information about me:

Supporting young people to develop their skills and motivating them to succeed is a strength of mine and something I thoroughly enjoy. As a head of Key Stage 3 I have been responsible for planning, delivering and evaluating both educational and extra-curricular cultural programmes for students; including those with ASD, ADHD and other diagnosed conditions. These inclusive activities involved using flexible teaching methods including drama, music and the creative use of technology to ensure that participants had fun, were engaged and felt welcome and included

I am comfortable at leading sessions and also supporting colleagues to deliver activities. I have experience in writing schemes of work, working with young people to plan and shape future sessions and completing risk assessments. I have worked with the BBC on a project where young people used voice recorders to interview older people in their community and on a ‘Children’s Lives' project with Birmingham Museum and Archives investigating the diverse changes in family life throughout history. These two projects were crucial to my understanding of the power and pleasure outreach work can give participants, and they set me on the path of working on projects that break down barriers and inspire the young people to access new cultural experiences. 

Throughout my working life I have facilitated many cultural activities including: introduction to coding for ages 5-80+, Lego stop-animation for Ipswich’s 4YP charity, pirate literacy fun days for home educated children, 3D printing workshops and a gig at Ipswich library.   

Some sound based projects specifically relevant to the position with CLIP include that in 2021 I facilitated an ACE funded online ‘build a synth’ session with ORAM award winning musician Loula Yorke. My role was to support Loula by sourcing the components, managing the online environment, attracting attendees and evaluating the session for the funder. The session went well with Loula instructing the participants on how to build an oscillator and then leading a performance. 

In early May 2023, I took part in broadcasting the dawn chorus from an area of AONB as part of the Reveil 10, 24-hour global dawn chorus broadcast. This personal project involved learning new skills in field recording, problem solving and using technology to share the glorious sounds of Suffolk with the rest of the world. It is a project that could be replicated and expanded at a CLIP session.

My artistic practice mixes manipulated lo-fi field recordings, the sounds of modified electronics saved from landfill and homemade instruments. The resulting compositions are textural explorations of timbre with instinctive, chance-based arrangements that mimic how I experience the rural soundscape. 

The instruments and sound sources used for my compositions are often homemade, built from kits or modified by circuit bending. Recent builds include a homemade hardy gurdy, an piezo soundboard and a three minute reel-to -reel tape loop of a church bell. I enjoy searching out and trying cheap, DIY projects online and have recently been prototyping a solar powered ‘synth-tweeter’. 

Thanks to a recent DYCP grant, I am currently enrolled on a Max/MSP course, receiving advanced field recording training and planning a community sound art project to explore how our village soundscape has changed over the past century.

 

Below is a short video showing some of my instruments and sonic experiments (you can also view the video here https://youtu.be/4SkLfrsv5UA the video contains some flashing strobe lights at the end)

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