Michael Cutting is a Manchester-based composer and performer, one half of the experimental pop duo Hyperdawn and founder of the group Almost Credible Music. Michael creates music with acoustic instruments and analogue devices. Derived from experiments with reel-to-reel tape machines, his work is characterised by warped loops, lo-fi noise and an emphasis on the theatricality of performance.
Michael's solo output ranges from electronic releases to multimedia performances, works for symphony orchestra to semi-improvised live sets, and has been presented in numerous festivals across Europe - Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (UK), Klangspuren (Austria), AHEAD Festival (Lithuania), Manifeste Academy (France), SPOR Festival (Denmark) and Heidelberger Frühling (Germany), in venues from the Royal Festival Hall to Cafe Oto, Royaumont Abbey to Rotherhithe Tunnel Shaft. His music has been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, NTS Manchester, Lake Radio (Denmark), LRT Radijas (Lithuania) and is released on the NMC and Ono record labels.
Aside from composing and performing, Michael also co-curates nights such as the sonic weekender OHNO in Cafe Oto in 2014, and Flatpack (a UK and Danish tour) in 2016.
Michael holds a PhD in Composition from Kings College London, and previously obtained his Bachelor and Masters degrees from the Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester.
Reviews of STILLS:
Fluid Radio -"Cutting’s use of melody — plaintive, jaunty, occasionally drifting off-key — perfectly suits the nature of his tape-based ‘instruments’, with their inherent flaws, uncertainties, and means of making sound […] STILLS is full of such attractive contrasts of melody, harmony, and rhythm, made all the more compelling by the ways in which they incorporate the material nature of the machines and processes that produce them.”
5:4 - "This is music that’s not so much played as clunked and glitched into existence, in which the role of the performer is rendered ambiguous: it’s never clear whether what we’re hearing is a live or pre-recorded element. Together with the music’s delicate simplicity and tendency to become gently distorted, this lends Stills the sense that it might have been created by the devices themselves in a miraculous moment of self-awareness. To an extent there are ambient qualities to these pieces, though Cutting consistently avoids letting the music ever become wan or passive, resulting in a unique kind of rudimentary, mechanical, analogue beauty.”
STILLS has been broadcast on NTS Manchester, Aural Tethers, Sound Dreams Radio and selected on numerous mixes for best albums in 2018 including 5:4, Aural Tethers and Headphone Commute.
Reviews of performances:
The Guardian - "Some of the day’s most arresting moments came in a recital by Richard Uttley. I was enthralled by his composure, lyricism and ability to hold a moment without forcing it […]; the Michael Cutting’s This Is Not a Faux Wood Keyboard was a surprise five-minute Fender Rhodes marvel.”
Joe Bates - "I’ve listened to a lot of Michael’s Strange Loop series but never had the chance to catch one live. It’s an astonishing enhancement of already very rich music. The physical delicacy, the awkwardness of the analogue machines (reel-to-reel tape, Fender Rhodes etc.) adds a thrill that is hard to grasp in recording. When in the room, the tape-button clunk that ends the piece feels like more of an intrusion than it ever could in recording."
5:4 - [I AM A STRANGE LOOP V] was as fantastic to listen to as it was to watch, Cutting demanding a great deal more from a pianist than one might expect."
5:4 - Extended review.