Under the knife

Apr 25, 2001 at 12:00 am

Matmos — aka San Franciscans M.C. Schmidt and Drew Daniel — will stop at nothing to bring to light the finest in sound artifacts. While most cut-and-paste sonic reconstituters would be content to mine their record crates, Matmos is in the field doing the primary research. Better still, once they bring it on back to their home studio, they proceed to make it warm, fuzzy, funky, freaky and, typically, pretty much unrecognizable. In the case of A Chance to Cut is a Chance to Cure, the source is the operating table and the examining room. Many of the sounds were recorded firsthand by Schmidt and Daniel with the permission of the operating doctors and patients. But that’s just the hook to get music hacks all worked into a tizzy. The real story here is that Matmos makes electronic music that lets rock dogs, indie kids and white-label trainspotters prick up their ears and hang around a while to find out what Schmidt and Daniel are gonna do next.

From liposuction to sinus scraping to acupuncture to lasik, all morph into unrecognizable key elements in Matmos’ funky compositions. Each cut takes its own sweet time laying on bits of musique concrete: roosters crowing, a meticulously enunciated human voice, handclaps and sounds that figure to be horns (but could just as easily be manipulated found sound). The upshot?

It’s funky, baby. Deceptively simple in its beauty (if not always meaty) and bouncy, A Chance to Cut is a Chance to Cure is more proof that challenging music doesn’t have to be difficult.

E-mail Chris Handyside at [email protected].