Martin met Drew Daniel around 1989 at Uranus, gay bar in San Francisco, where Drew worked as a go go dancer. Prior to that, Daniel saw Schmidt playing with IAO Core at Ordo Templi Orientis's event at 924 Gilman Street. Eventually the two started dating and formed a band together, Matmos (named after a 'seething lake of evil slime' beneath the Sogo city in the 1968 film Barbarella).
After making music together privately for a few years, in 1997 Drew and Martin established Vague Terrain label and self-released their debut album Matmos. Since then, the duo released over ten albums, as well as numerous collaborations and EPs, on Matador, Thrill Jockey, Deluxe (6), Tigerbeat6, Important Records (2), FatCat Records, Locust Music, and other independent labels. As half of Matmos, Schmidt has worked with Terry Riley, Kronos Quartet, Peter Rehberg, INA-GRM, Rrose, Marshall Allen, Horse Lords, Vicki Bennett (People Like Us), Keith Fullerton Whitman, Antony Hegarty, William Basinski and many others. For many years, Matmos had been collaborating with Icelandic artist Björk – they produced several remixes, and later contributed to a few of her albums. Martin Schmidt and Drew Daniel accompanied Björk on Vespertine World Tour (2001) and Greatest Hits Tour (2003) as part of her live band. In 1997–98, Daniel and M.C. Schmidt recorded several glitch albums with Miguel Depedro (Kid606) as Disc.
In 2009, Martin Schmidt hosted a series of improvisational sessions with Lisle Ellis, a veteran jazz basist who have played with Cecil Taylor, Fred Frith, John Zorn and the likes, and Jason Willett (1/2 Japanese) at his home in Baltimore. A newly formed Instant Coffee! trio saw Ellis exploring the electroacoustic combination of traditional jazz techniques with real-time computer processing, Schmidt playing the usual variety of bizarre percussion, non-musical objects and synthesizers, and Jason Willett jamming on contact mic'ed rubber band, Sidrassi Organ and custom-made electronic instruments. The sessions were documented on Instant Coffee! LP, a limited edition album on Alga Marghen's Planam sub-label in 2010.
Schmidt released his first solo album Batu Malablab in 2015. Recorded on prepared piano, Chinese flute, Roland SH-101, Roland V-Synth, T.C. Helicon VoiceLive II and other machines, and featuring Wobbly and Thomas Dimuzio on misc synthesizers and electronics, Batu Malablab presents an original gamelan-inspired experimental take on Jon Hassell's 'Fourth World' and other Western cosmopolitan renditions of non-western world music.
In 2017, Martin Schmidt made a soundtrack to a Jeffrey Rettberg's 27-min Devotion film.
Martin Schmidt Discography
- 14 Vocals
- 56 Instruments & Performance
- 21 Writing & Arrangement
- 3 Featuring & Presenting
- 3 Production
- 26 Technical
- 4 Visual
- 1 Acting, Literary & Spoken