Last month, the globally acclaimed music duo Matmos unveiled details for their 14th studio album, Return To Archive, which is set to be released digitally on November 3rd via Smithsonian Folkways (with physical formats arriving in 2024). Created to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Folkways Records, Return To Archive was exclusively assembled using early “non-musical” recordings initially released by the historic label during the mid-20th century. Matmos dice, loop, stretch and transform some of the earliest sounds captured by field recordists, scientists, and experimentalists documenting the margins of our human soundscape, recontextualizing the source material into something completely unexpected.
Today, Matmos has returned to share a second preview from the album, titled “Injection Basic Sound.” Following the lead preview track, “Mud-Dauber Wasp,” which was meticulously crafted using a single sound source of the titular animal, “Injection Basic Sound” seamlessly fuses sci-fi sounds with the human voice by sampling three near-unclassifiable selections from the Folkways archives: 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.
Reflecting on the hundreds of albums sifted through for the project, Matmos’ Drew Daniel comments on what unites them all: “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.”