Matmos Mine "Non-Musical" Folkways Recordings for New Album 'Return to Archive'

New song "Mud-Dauber Wasp" samples exactly that

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Sep 7, 2023

Matmos have detailed their 14th studio album. The duo of Drew Daniel and M.C. Schmidt will share Return to Archive digitally on November 3 via Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, ahead of physical CD and LP versions arriving in 2024. 

Following albums created from sound sources including a washing machine, various plastics, and 99 guest musicians playing at 99 BPM, Daniel and Schmidt have once again embraced the atypical.

Return to Archive's nine tracks are constructed exclusively through sampling "non-musical" recordings originally published by Folkways in the mid-20th century — an undertaking the storied label proposed to the duo ahead of this year's milestone 75th anniversary.

Daniel explains in a statement that after sampling the music of others on last year's Regards/Ukłony dla Bogusław Schaeffer, "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."

Daniel adds that the sounds plucked from the label's extensive archive range "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."

New arrival "Mud-Dauber Wasp," which you can hear below alongside visuals from Schmidt, was built entirely out of a recording of the titular insect in flight, originally recorded by Albro T. Gaul for his The Sound of Insects LP, released in 1960. Post-processing, the wasp's winging now resembles an avant-garde synth tone.

Last year, Daniel shared Is It Going to Get Any Deeper Than This? as the Soft Pink Truth, which was named among Exclaim!'s Best EPs of 2022.

Return to Archive:

1. Good Morning Electronics
2. Injection Basic Sound
3. Mud-Dauber Wasp
4. Music or Noise?
5. Why?
6. Lend Me Your Ears
7. Return to Archive
8. The Way Japanese Beetles Sound to a Rose
9. Going to Sleep

Latest Coverage