Last month, Matmos announced their 14th studio album, Return To Archive, releasing digitally release on November 3rd through Smithsonian Folkways, and in physical formats later in 2024. The album came about following an invite from Folkways Records to create new material to commemorate their 75th anniversary, and so the duo of M.C. Schmidt and Drew Daniel were given access to a colossal archive of LP’s originally published by Folkways Records in the mid-20th century.
Matmos had already teased the album with the lead single, ‘Mud-Dauber Wasp’, composed using a single sound source lifted from Albro T. Gaul’s 1960 Folkways LP Sounds of Insects. Now they are previewing the forthcoming Return To Archive with a new single titled ‘Injection Basic Sound’, which uses selections from Science Fiction Sound Effects (1958), Vox Humana: Alfred Wolfsohn’s Experiments in the Extension of the Human Vocal Range (1956), and Speech after the Removal of the Larynx (1964).
Speaking about the hundreds of albums they went through, and what links them, Daniel commented:
“Taken together, these LPs capture a particular historical moment in the emergence of the long-playing record as a crucial interface between the lonely listener and the surrounding panorama of the label’s Cold War social milieu. Promising the intimacy of access, some records are voyeuristic peepholes into domestic or professional spaces: a baby’s playroom, a busy office, an operating theater. Some records shrink the listener to the Lilliputian worlds of beetles and wasps. Some records are submarines plunging listeners to oceanic depths, or magic carpets flying them to the outermost reaches of the newly explored space age. In its own idiomatic way, every record promises transport, adventure, journeys into sound.”
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 linernotes 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.
We´re nearing the release of Matmos‘ new album Plastic Anniversary and they had already shared ‘Silicone Gel Implant’ and the title track. To get us even more excited, the pair has dropped two new cuts from the record, ‘Thermoplastic Riot Shield’ and ‘Breaking Bread’. Like the entire album, plastic is the single sound source on both tracks. The sounds on ‘Thermoplastic Riot Shield’ are extracted from a police riot shield and ‘Breaking Bread’ uses samples of smashed LPs by the 70s band with the same name at a WFMU record fair.
Matmos have also paired both tracks with accompanying videos. The band’s own M.C. Schmidt and Drew Daniel co-directed with David Serotte the video for ‘Thermoplastic Riot Shield’, one “that takes a perverted close up look at police equipment”, as they put it. Robert Syrett has animated the video for ‘Breaking Bread’ “into a comedic parable about ecological destruction”. Watch them below and watch out for the release of Plastic Anniversary on March 15th through Thrill Jockey.
We’re less than a month away from the much anticipated release of Matmos‘ new album Plastic Anniversary. The duo of M.C. Schmidt and Drew Daniel had already teased it with the brilliant and bouncy ‘Silicone Gel Implant’, and now they unveiled the title track. Listen to it out below and watch the album trailer straight after.
Matmos have been creating music using the most unusual sources and approaches for over twenty years. The duo of M.C. Schmidt and Drew Daniel, partners in life and music, have to date made music out of anything from washing machines and varied surgical procedures to human skulls and rat cages, usually paired with instrumentation. In line with their love of unconventional sound sources, their upcoming album, Plastic Anniversary, draws from one element, plastic. All the sounds on the record are extracted entirely from plastic objects, including Bakelite dominoes, Styrofoam coolers, polyethylene waste containers, PVC panpipes, pinpricks of bubble wrap and more. There’s human elements as well guest contributing to the album including members of the horn and drumline sections of the Whitefish Highschool Bulldogs from Whitefish, Montana and Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier. The songs on the album are described as “a volatile and vibrant suite of poppy plastic electronics”, with its closing track “end[ing] in an acknowledgement of the planetary price yet to be paid.”
Plastic Anniversary is out on March 15th through Thrill Jockey, and Matmos are teasing it with the brilliant and bouncy ‘Silicone Gel Implant’. Like the title suggests, the bassline sounds derive from silicone breast implant samples. Here it is.
The Marriage of True Minds, the last album released by Matmos, was one of our Album Picks of 2013. So we’re pleased to know the Baltimore based duo of M.C. Schmidt and Drew Daniel are ready to follow it up. They have just announced the release of Ultimate Care II, due on February 19th via Thrill Jockey. Matmos have been creating music using the most unusual sources and ways for over two decades, and the upcoming album remains in line with this approach. Ultimate Care II was recorded in their basement studio in Baltimore and all the sounds were generated by a Whirlpool Ultimate Care II model washing machine. “Funny and sad, bouncy and creepy, liquid and mechanical”, as the press release puts it, Matmos’ upcoming album “swirls with perverse paradox, but the agitation at its core offers vital evidence of Matmos’ abiding faith in the musical potential of sound”.
To bring the album to life, the pair invited a cast of guest contributors, including Dan Deacon, Max Eilbacher (Horse Lords), Sam Haberman (Horse Lords), Jason Willett (Half Japanese), and Duncan Moore (Needle Gun).
Matmos have shared an amazing album excerpt and it’s good reason to be excited. Here’s ‘Ultimate Care II Excerpt Eight’.