The World According to Sound: Matmos

The World According to Sound is an hour-long escape into a communal, surround sound listening event.

On January 21, The World According to Sound presents Matmos, the only pure music show in the series, brought to us by two electronic musicians who make melodies from hospital apparatus and washing machines and bovine uteri.

Matmos will be performing an original work made for The World According to Sound. The performance will be followed by a live Q&A with Martin and Drew from Matmos.

Every attendee will be mailed an eye mask and listening instructions for how to tune into a program made by radio producers, musicians, and sound artists.

Artists

Matmos

Matmos is M.C. Schmidt and Drew Daniel, aided and abetted by many others. Currently based in Baltimore, the duo formed in San Francisco in the mid 1990s, and self-released their debut album in 1997. Marrying the conceptual tactics and noisy textures of object-based musique concrete to a rhythmic matrix rooted in electronic pop music, the two quickly became known for their highly unusual sound sources: amplified crayfish nerve tissue, the pages of bibles turning, water hitting copper plates, liposuction surgery, cameras and VCRs, chin implant surgery, contact microphones on human hair, rat cages, tanks of helium, a cow uterus, human skulls, snails, cigarettes, cards shuffling, laser eye surgery, whoopee cushions, balloons, latex fetish clothing, rhinestones, Polish trains, insects, life support systems, inflatable blankets, rock salt, solid gold coins, the sound of a frozen stream thawing in the sun, a five gallon bucket of oatmeal. These raw materials are manipulated into surprisingly accessible forms, and often supplemented by traditional musical instruments played by them and their large circle of friends and collaborators. The result is a model of electronic composition as a relational network that connects sources and outcomes together; information about the process of creation activates the listening experience, providing the listener with entry points into sometimes densely allusive, baroque recordings. Since their debut, Matmos have released over eight albums, including: Quasi-Objects (1998) , The West (1998), A Chance to Cut Is A Chance to Cure (2001), The Civil War (2003)  and The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of A Beast(2006) and Supreme Balloon (2008). In 2001 they were asked to collaborate with the Icelandic singer Bjork on her “Vespertine” album, and subsequently embarked on two world tours as part of her band. In addition to musical collaborations with Antony, So Percussion, Terry Riley, The Kronos Quartet, David Tibet, the Rachel’s, Lesser, Wobbly, Zeena Parkins, and the Princeton Laptop Orchestra, Matmos have also collaborated with a wide range of artists across disciplines, from the visual artist Daria Martin (on the soundtrack to her film “Minotaur”) to the playwright Young Jean Lee (for her play “The Appeal”) to Berlin-based choreographer Ayman Harper. Most recently, they have been part of the ensemble for the Robert Wilson production “The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic”, featuring Marina Abramovic, Antony and Willem Dafoe. Their most recent album, The Marriage of True Minds, was released in 2013 by Thrill Jockey Records.

Partners

The World According to Sound

Chris Hoff and Sam Harnett are co-creators of The World According to Sound, a radio show that airs on NPR’s All Things Considered and weekly on individual public radio stations. The Washington Post writes that “each episode is 90 seconds, containing a neat little story about an evocative, unusual sound rendered in intense aural detail.” The show’s sound-driven approach to radio has been featured on programs like NHPR’s “Overheard,” KQED’s “Earful,” KALW’s “The Spot,” CBC’s “Podcast Playlist,” and a segment on “HowSound” called “Short is Beautiful.” The World According to Sound is more than just a radio show, however. Chris Hoff and Sam Harnett have turned it into a live performance where they set up a ring of speakers, pass out eye masks, turn out the lights, and take the sounds from their show and move them all around the audience. You will hear bridges and ants and the gurgle of mud pots. The sounds will transport you inside another person’s head and back in time a hundred years to the streets of Berlin. There will be a musical performance by a washing machine, a sonorous tennis match, and a disturbing howl Marco Polo heard centuries ago while crossing the Gobi Desert. The pair has performed at art galleries, theaters, and centers for the blind in San Francisco and throughout the Northeast.

KQED

KQED is for everyone who wants to be more. Our television, radio, digital media and educational services change lives for the better and help individuals and communities achieve their full potential. KQED serves the people of Northern California with a community-supported alternative to commercial media. They provide citizens with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions; convene community dialogue; bring the arts to everyone; and engage audiences to share their stories. KQED helps students and teachers thrive in 21st century classrooms, and take people of all ages on journeys of exploration—exposing them to new people, places and ideas. They celebrate diversity, embrace innovation, value lifelong learning and partner with those who share their passion for public service.

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