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Classic Album Review: Matmos | A Chance to Cut is a Chance to Cure

The San Franciscans’ surgery-sampling set belongs in the queasy listening section.


This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


I’ve heard of tissue samples, but this is ridiculous.

A Chance to Cut Is A Chance To Cure, the fourth album from San Francisco experimental duo Matmos, consists of songs created from — are you ready? — the sounds of cosmetic surgical procedures. The slurping of liposuctioned fat, the zapping of laser eye surgery, even the cracking of rhinoplastied noses — it’s all fodder for the reconstructive aural surgery of cuts like Lipostudio … and So On, L.A.S.I.K. and California Rhinoplasty. Surprisingly, the results are more merry than macabre. Wisely crafting lightly funky beats and bouncy melodies to balance the squirm-inducing squelches and spurts, Matmos create tunes that come off as playful — even if they’re being played on a human skull or the bars of a lab rat’s cage. On the one hand, this is a high-concept commentary on America’s obsession with artificial beauty. But it’s also one of the most oddly compelling albums I’ve heard lately. Even if it does belong in the Queasy Listening section.