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    Return to Archive Marks Legendary Electronic Music Duo Matmos’s Entry Into the Folkways Catalog

    Announcing Return to Archive, the fourteenth studio album from Matmos - the revered Baltimore-based duo comprising Drew Daniel and M.C. Schmidt. ‘Return to Archive’ is available for pre-order now, and will be released digitally on November 3, on CD January 26, and on LP this spring.

    Their first single, "Mud Dauber Wasp," was created from a single sound source: "Mud-Dauber (Wasp) Flight” from Albro T. Gaul's 1960 Folkways LP Sounds of Insects. On “Mud Dauber Wasp,” Matmos transform the heavily distorted hum of the wasp’s wings into sounds evoking jagged-edged synthesizers and electronic thuds.

    Return to Archive is constructed entirely from the “non-musical” recordings released by Folkways Records in the mid-20th century. It contains sounds sourced from dozens of LPs, from Sounds of North American Frogs to Speech After the Removal of the Larynx, Sounds of Insects to Voices of the Satellites, Sounds of Medicine to Sounds of the Junk Yard. Drew Daniel and M.C. Schmidt were given unprecedented access to the label’s fabled archive at the Smithsonian Institution and encouraged to repurpose and rework the source material however they liked. The resulting album illuminates the radical, inquisitive, and poetic aspects of the original recordings, extracting the latent moments of creative revelation on records intended primarily for the backroom shelves of universities and libraries. Some tracks cycle through source material at a rate of dozens of samples per minute, while others sit with specific recordings for their duration. Released to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the founding of Folkways Records by Moses Asch and Marian Distler, Return to Archive is a whimsical, entrancing, and at times unsettling traversal of what Asch called the “World of Sound.”


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    Return to Archive Marks Legendary Electronic Music Duo Matmos’s Entry Into the Folkways Catalog | Smithsonian Folkways Recordings