Matmos announce 14th studio album, Return To Archive, and share lead single ‘Mud-Dauber Wasp’

Matmos, the veteran experimental duo of M.C. Schmidt and Drew Daniel, have always created music in unconventional ways, using the most unusual sources and approaches since their bonding in life and music in 1997. The pair compose using anything from washing machines and varied surgical procedures to human skulls and rat cages, and a plethora of other odd things which they manipulate and often compliment with instrumentation.

Last week they’ve announced their 14th studio album, Return To Archive, slated for a digital release on November 3rd through Smithsonian Folkways, and in physical formats later in 2024. An invite from Folkways Records to create new material to commemorate their 75th anniversary led to the album. Schmidt and Daniel were given access to a huge archive comprising hundreds of LPs, and in keeping with their approach to making music, they crafted a record exclusively from the “non-musical” recordings, which were originally published by Folkways Records in the mid-20th century. As Daniel writes in the liner notes accompanying the album:

“Because we were not interested in reworking the music of other people (having just done that in our immediately preceding album, Regards/Ukłony dla Bogusław Schaeffer, on which we built new music out of elements from the Polish electro-acoustic composer), for this project we decided that we would rather focus exclusively upon the nature and science recordings within the label’s catalog and would make music only by sampling those sources without adding any new sounds of our own. We hoped to activate the rich musical potential within the hoots, gurgles, thunks, zaps, howls, drips, bangs, and zings that haunt classic early Folkways LPs from the The Sounds of the Office (1964) to Sounds of Medicine (1955) to The Science of Sound (1958). From cable cars on land to bottlenose dolphins underwater, from the quietest gurgling of gastro intestinal interiors to the wildest squalls of junkyard landscapes and the howling ionosphere above the clouds, an entire sonic universe lay hidden in the back alleys of this back catalog.”

The album news came paired with the lead single, ‘Mud-Dauber Wasp’, which saw them use a single sound source lifted from Albro T. Gaul’s 1960 Folkways LP Sounds of Insects. Schmidt has made a video for it and you can watch it below.

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