Chance to Cut Is a Chance to Cure Import
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Forget for a moment that they went out of their way to record some of the most morbid objects for their songs and appreciate the fact that Matmos can use complete non-instruments and coax some of the most musical sounds from them, and make textures that range from the horrifying "For Felix" to the funky "Lipostudio." Electronic musicians have always loved using non-musical intruements in their recordings, but seldom do they use them are more than a quirky 4/4 beat. Matmos finds the essence of the objects and creates a song for them.
Martin Schmidt and Drew Daniel went into (of all places) the operating room to record much of this record. The record features the sounds of scalpels through flesh, fat being sucked through a liposuction tube, the buzz of eye surgery lasers and accupuncture point detectors, tones used for hearing aid tests, human and goat bones and a rat cage. And yes, they even use teeth on one song, althrough their not their own teeth. They belonged to some dead guy.
This record brings up several interesting questions. Do objects like skulls and scalpels have an inherently sick sound to them, or if you listened to this record without knowing how it was made, would you just think it's regular electronic mumbo-jumbo. Certainly some of that depends on how edited the sound is, if it can be identified or not.Read more ›
The sound sources on this disk, as everyone has already remarked, range from innocuously traditional instruments like guitars, drums, and synths all the way to goat spines and the sometimes horrifying, sometimes amusing sounds of cosmetic surgery. What reviewers don't usually discuss is the imagination with which these materials are combined and juxtaposed.
Matmos's music thrives on contrast. Their last LP, "The West", combined twangy steel-strings, out-of-context vocal samples, and Ennio Morricone flutes with clicking, grinding, and occasionally bone-crushing computer-generated noises. The variety of musical material on "A Chance To Cut" is, if anything, more pronounced. To describe all of my favorite moments would be giving the game away, but the transformation of a hearing test into the audio equivalent of a word-association game, and then into a bouncy house track is a bizarre feat of musical wit that must be heard to be believed.
Listen and read carefully, though, as Matmos play both sides of the game. While many of the surgery recordings end up sounding perfectly ordinary, there are a few sounds thrown into the mix that suggest all too vividly the slurping of fat through a tube, or the cutting of skin. Read the liner notes, though, and you see that the sound sources for the song include both "Liposuction surgery recorded in California" and "Straw and Water".
It's not all a gross-out party game, though, as Matmos turns the tempo for an elegiac orchestra in track 05, "for felix (and all the rats)".Read more ›
"A Chance to Cut" is not too different in that respect, since the majority of the hubbub is based around its sampling premise: medical equipment and operations. And yes, the premise does become somewhat subversive, since when you hear a strange squelching noise on the first track and then you make the connection with the title "Liposuction," even the most adjusted listener will most likely squirm a bit.
However, what Matmos has done with this release is create a product much greater than the sum of its parts. Never do they abandon the quirky pinache that characterizes the majority of their work, a quality that appears again and again, whether in the form of funky house on "Spondee" (a track based on two-syllable words, in which neither syllable holds an emphasis) or the goofy melodies of "California Rhinoplasty" or "Memento Mori." Still, "For Felix" transcends kitsch and becomes a sort of agitated elegy through its bowed overtones (using a rat cage as the source material).
Through its seven tracks (some of them quite lengthy), "A Chance to Cut" never grows tiresome, as each track explores different territory while the premise holds them together as an album. Highly, highly recommended!!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Some very creatively-creepy electronic work here comes closer to presenting a tongue-slightly-in-cheek audio surgical tour than anyone had ever cared to venture. Read morePublished on February 20, 2009 by IRate
So who/what are Matmos?
Let's look at the sleeve of 'A Chance to Cut is a Chance to Cure'; writing far too small to read without an arc-lamp and strange pictures of forceps,... Read more
Matmos was recommended to me by a guy in the record store after me mentioning my affinity for mixmaster, Herbert (Bodily Functions, Secondhand Sounds). Read morePublished on June 1, 2004 by D. Lee
On initial listens, I enjoyed this album's playfulness, inventive uses of sounds,and progression from funky to intense over the course of the album. Read morePublished on December 24, 2003 by J. B Forgione
If you like groups like matmos, autechre, aphex twin, boards of canada, squarepusher or any other type of abstract electronic music, you will enjoy Parka. Read morePublished on July 14, 2002
"A Chance To Cut is A Chance To Cure", the most recent album by San Francisco duo Matmos, released in the early months of 2001, has all attires and attitude of what could be... Read morePublished on February 14, 2002 by Rafael Cova
the fact that this album was made of largely of samples the duo got from plastic surgery escapades is a lot hype and doesn't really matter to me. Read morePublished on January 24, 2002 by Xiao
Matmos' newest album, A CHANCE TO CUT IS A CHANCE TO CURE is pure genius. They did some background music for Bjork's newest release, VESPERTINE, and I must say, they are my second... Read morePublished on January 14, 2002
I tend to refrain from using the phrase "concept album" because it is the same thing that critics labelled Ok Computer by Radiohead, which is certainly NOT a concept album, but... Read morePublished on November 3, 2001 by chris.