Matmos - A Chance To Cut Is A Chance To Cure
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Matmos
A Chance To Cut Is A Chance To Cure

Like a bad car wreck that you drive by on the highway, this album is one of those albums that you simply can't turn away from in concept alone. By now it's been documented fully (and the title already gives quite a bit of insight as to the process behind it), but basically this 7 track release is based around sound samples taken from different medical procedures. To some, it may sound like a cheap gimmick and to others it may be enough to make the purchase on, but the crazy thing about the release is how well it holds up on its own musically (which is really the true test of any concept album).

As sort of a test for this, I gave the album to a couple different friends and told one of them about the sources of the samples, while the other person had pretty much a blind ear towards things. Both of them enjoyed it a great deal, and when I told the person who didn't know the history, they ended up liking it even more. Another just plain cool thing about the release is that the album is dedicated to the fathers (who both happened to be doctors) of Matmos members Drew Daniel and Martin Schmidt.

In addition to being an interesting album in concept, the group goes through enough styles on the release to keep things super interesting as well. The opening track "Lipostudio....and so on" is a quirky little track that lopes along with a loping beat and clarinet, as well as lots of pretty sucking noises from a real life liposuction procedure. The group goes a little more into noise territory on the second track "L.A.S.I.K." (which as you can guess samples the eye-correction procedure), which starts out with some rather random sounding static patterns, but settles into sort of a squirmy sounding glitch track.

Really, that's just the beginning of things too. On "Spondee," they take a sample of a woman reading for a hearing test and turn it into a housey track that you can actually shake your groove thing to while "Ur Tchun Tan Tse Qi" is another weird, glitchy sounding track with a swerving beat that is comprised totally of tones generated while measuring the galvanic response of Schmidt's skin. One of the most effecting tracks on the disc (both in sound and concept) is "For Felix (And All The Rats)" which is composed of sounds from the plucked and bowed bars of a rat cage. The experimental, semi-classical track is sad and haunting and draws even more awareness to the liner note fact that a laboratory animal dies every second in the United States.

There are a couple more tracks on the disc, but you get the picture by now. Basically, this is one concept album that doesn't forsake listenability for pure experimentation. It's amazingly put together and although there are a couple places where the average listener might find themselves challenged, overall it's very much worth it anyway. With this release, the duo of Matmos is proving that they're at the top of their game, and it's definitely something worth hearing.

rating: 810
Aaron Coleman 2003-06-19 00:00:00