If you haven't heard Matmos before, and all you know of this CD is the conceit behind it, you probably aren't going to rush out and buy it immediately. It is my mission to convince you to do so.
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)". If the effect of the music is sobering, even more so is the track's description in the liner notes: "Composed entirely from the plucked and bowed cage of our rat Felix (R.I.P.). Sadness at the loss of our pet is put in perspective by the fact that a laboratory animal dies every second in the United States."
If there's one thing this disc lacks, it's the feeling of coherence that Matmos achieved with "The West". These tracks are all great, and the diversity of music is enjoyable, but the disc doesn't really hold together quite as well.
My final verdict: If you already know you like Matmos, buy this disc immediately. It's a solid continuation of their previous work. If you have never heard them before, though, start with "The West".