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date: 26 January 2020


  • Mandy-Suzanne Wong


Electronic pop duo that performs, composes, records, and remixes experimental electronic music. Matmos comprises Drew Daniel and Martin C. Schmidt, whose earliest collaborations date from 1995. Originally based in San Francisco, where Schmidt managed the New Genres Department at the San Francisco Art Institute, Matmos moved in 2007 to Baltimore, where Daniel is Assistant Professor of English at Johns Hopkins University.

With its debut albums, Matmos (1997) and Quasi-Objects (1998), Matmos inaugurated its trademark aesthetic, configuring samples of unusual sound sources in compositions that straddle experimental electro-acoustic and electronic dance music. For example, in “Verber (Amplified Synapse)” (1997), the duo sampled and amplified the sounds of firing synapses in neural tissues of crayfish, adding other noise and a rock-based beat. Daniel and Schmidt make sure to identify their bizarre sound sources in liner notes and press releases, as they are interested in how this information affects the listening process. In performance, they “play” and sample their strange objects in real time, for instance walking rhythmically on rock salt, or touching the skin with a detector that produces sound when its electrical wires meet the body’s acupuncture points. Fascinated by the relationship between sound, electricity, and components of the human body, Matmos created one of its more notorious albums, ...

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