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A Chance to Cut Is a Chance to Cure

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (12 Mar. 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Matador
  • ASIN: B000059N62
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 260,272 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 4 Sept. 2001
Format: Audio CD
For anyone whose interest in music extends a bit beyond the norm this album makes for essential listening. Using samples taken from medical science (most prominently plastic surgery) Matmos have created an album that is both conceptually and musically strong. From clinically tight beats and cut ups to emotive and organic sound structures this album remains listenable at all times, with a great ear for rhythm and melody. If you are a fan of the music of warp records or are keen to try something off the beaten track you must but this album. You will not be disappointed. This album is a work of genius.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
i bought my cd of this release a year or so ago - wanting to hear what all the media fuss was about in the more "intelligent" music press. US duo - matmos are certainly inventive with this cd based on surgical procedures, recordings of which pepper the various tracks. so far so clever. tracks ultimately fall in the in crowded clever clever brigade for people who want to show off to non-aficianado friends some "avante-garde" contemporary music..

as a big fan of forward thinking , inventive muasic - both electronic or otherwise "a chance to cut is a chance to cure" ultimately fails to move me, semi-impress perhaps for a few listens, but the overriding impression is 180 IQ students impressing each other , without adding any genuine emotion or soul (with a small "s") . Autechre may be deemed soulless also (wrongly), but are legends in the electronica field for fearlessly pushing the boundaries + mouse on mars - combine the ideal balance that the matmos guys are aiming for ,but fail. that of cerebral,humourous,inventive electronica. "a chance to cut" misses the mark..

a miss.
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By A Customer on 12 April 2001
Format: Audio CD
This CD is largely constructed from samples of plastic surgery operations performed in California. So you'd expect the music to head off in the direction of Coil, Nurse with Wound or Scraping Foetus of the Wheels. But instead most of it is quite light and poppy and not dissimilar to recent work by Mouse on Mars; slightly kitch, catchy tunes (sort of) and nice shiny surfaces. Locating the sounds of plastic surgery - and thus plastic surgery itself - within the parameters of superficial throw away popular culture is, I suppose, the point and makes for an intriguing listen. I have really enjoyed playing the CD, one or two others that I have it played it to, whilst enjoying the sound, have found it gross. You choose.
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Format: Audio CD
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 Jodrell Bank, and strange pictures of forceps, stanley-knife blades and a woman with a mutant eye. Maybe that's significant. The back of the cd case has a bit of bacon, two kidneys and a tapeworm (dissected).
The whole package design looks like the title-sequence of Cronenberg's 'Dead Ringers', but there's nothing clinical about the sound. Being antiseptically procedural doesn't rile a Matmos.

'A Chance to Cut is a Chance to Cure' is electro-music, pre-occupied with the clanking and hissing of the (strangely inspirational) operating theatre. It's easy to deconstruct, deadly simple to lay down its parts. It's the sight and sound of fresh, shiny blood being washed down a gleaming white china sluice. "Now count down with me ..10, 9, 8..." Sharp as a suture needle, surgically spirited etc. In a phrase: It is the machine that goes "PING!"

So who/what are Matmos? They're slightly Can in a dementedly experimental phase; slightly Kraftwerk in a 'everybody-eventually-descends-from Kraftwerk' sense, and mightily, 23 Skidoo - that 'Seven Songs' masterwork raises it's truculent head yet again, over and beyond what-we've-dared-NOT-to expect.

'Memento Mori' is the tale of a toothbrush rattling in it's beaker, then someone serenely constructs a rabbit-hutch. I had a rabbit called Harold and I wept for weeks when he died. Is it you Harold? Is it really you...?
'Spondee' is one of those toddler education aids. Hear a word, press a button, bit of disco. Surprising.
So who/what are Matmos?
Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars 24 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The funky sounds of surgery coming from San Fran... 2 Jun. 2001
By Eyes and Teeth - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Ahhh... The sweet sounds of surgery. Liposuction has never sounded so funky (nor has Lasik eye-surgery or rhinoplasty). Thru excellent source material, great sample techniques, creatvie ears, and a great melodic sense, Matmos have managed to construct their best release thus far. I never realized Bard Parker Scalpels, Draeger Anesthesia Ventilators, and the human skull could be used to such musical and melodical ends. A truly creative album here, that turns the sounds of surgery into sublime house music. This by far surpasses their previous efforts, as it is a much more cohesive work, utilizing their somewhat gimmicky methods of sound gathering to a fully realized end. This CD, along with recent Schematic releases (Lily of the Valley, Ischemic Folks, House of Distraction, and Otto von Schirach), are currently among the best, most daring electronic releases out right now. If you like Plunderphonics, Paul Lansky, Steinski, or anyone else who utilizes interesting sample techniques, you will love this.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "You're listening to WHAT?" 15 April 2001
By Peter Shultz - Published on
Format: Audio CD
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".
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars music is the medicine 4 May 2001
By Matthew D. Mercer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
California based duo Matmos have come a long way certainly. It wasn't until the release of "The West" that they really grew to accommodate their potential as a force in electronic music. Prior to that their releases like "Quasi-objects," while rewarding on a listening level, seemed too pre-occupied with their own sampling novelty.
"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!!
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Are sounds inherently... icky? 18 May 2001
By Ryan Hennessy - Published on
Format: Audio CD
You've played songs on your teeth before. Admit it. Everyone has. You'll get bored, start fiddling with parts of your face, and end up clicking your teeth with your fingernails, making rudimentary percussion versions of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" or something by opening and closing your mouth to change the pitch. Well, apparently Matmos likes doing this too, and that's essentially the idea behind A Chance To Cut Is A Chance To Cure.
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. A lot of the sounds have to be pitch shifted and changed to make music. Another question it raises is what exactly is a music instrument. We're at a point now where if you have the computing and mixing skills, you can make an instrument out of anything, as Matmos demonstrates. The record also shows that you don't even need engineering skills to make something of nothing. In "Lipostudio" Stephen Thrower plays a clarinet, and Schmidt blows through a straw into water, and almost the same effect is achieved with each. They get both to sound like a combination of a horn sound with the flesh sounds.
Another question is "Would these songs stand on their own if they were made traditionally." The entire record is interesting, but why? Is it just because I know that they're playing a goat spine to get a beat? I really can't answer this question, but knowing what I know certainly makes the record more enjoyable. One song that would stand up well is "For Felix (And All The Rats)." It sounds like a cacophony of violins playing out of tune, then in the middle there is what sounds like the sound of a prepared xylophone or something being struck, until it all comes crashing together in what sounds like a wild animal attacking you. To read that all of this made by plucking a rat cage and playing it with a bow seems insane. The fact that they did it is pure genius. By playing the steel bars of the cage with a bow, they managed to coax out a sound that's simulaneously a violin, a horn and a whimpering animal. Absolutely beautiful.
Don't get the wrong idea. This isn't an entirely dark album. "Spondee" is a playful song built over a speech record of phonetically balanced words, with equal stress on the first and second syllable (lunchbox, playground, raincoat). This makes the perfect beat for a surprisingly dancey song. The next song is a less bouncy but still danceable song made solely from the clicks generated from a accupunture point detector. Somehow, "Ur Tchun Tan Tse Qi" is a throbbing and droning song made out of sounds from a skull, teeth and a goat spine. The only real instrument on the final track is a nose flute. The rest was recorded during cosmetic surgeries in California. And it's never less than interesting.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Concept Album 3 Nov. 2001
By chris. - Published on
Format: Audio CD
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 this is. The California musicians use unique sounds sampeled from such operations as liposuction, lasik eye surgery, acupuncture and plastic surgery. The sounds come out with a unique blend of experimental and electronic bleeps.
I felt like this album was a must-have after seeing them perform live with Bjork, which was certainly a unique experience. Basically, they used a lot of the same tools live as they did in the album. For example the song "Ur Tchun Tan Tse Qi" uses a machine that measures acupuncture points, which they used live too. So, not only did they perform a little show, but the music was fantastic.
This album really is for those who have a high tolerance for odd music. If you do not, it will be a waste of money. DO NOT BUY THIS ALBUM if you simply saw them with Bjork, because you may not like it because it is very odd. However, it is some of the most interesting and well developed electronic music out there to date because its so experimental and unlike some Warp and even Astralwerk musicians, Matmos develop a strong sense of beginning middle and end.
Overall, a very interesting album and if you can stomach it (which sometimes it is hard) it is worth the ... or so.
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