Michael Gatt: Sound Installation & Acousmatic Compositions

Michael Gatt: Sound Installation & Acousmatic Compositions

Name: Michael Gatt

Where do you live / work: Derby/Leicester

Favourite Transformations
– Amplitude Modulation (AM)

– Chorus

– Convolution

– Delay

– Envelope Manipulation

– Fade

– Filter

– Granulation

– Panning

– Reverb

– Reverse

– Time-Stretching

– Transposition

What makes these manipulations your favourite?

They make it easier to remove any identical characteristics of a sound where necessary, or focus on particular aspect of it.

1. How would you describe the type of music that you make?

My musical work is split into two types: site-specific installations and acousmatic compositions. The site-specific installations focus on using specific places as a fundamental part of the work, whilst the acousmatic compositions usually only use one sound source as centre point for the entire piece.

2. If you had to use the genre categories to describe your music, which would it be?

Electroacoustic music Sound Art

Sound Installation

3. What types of sounds do you like to use when you compose?

Normally dissonant sounds, but this depends on the type of music I am composing. If I am creating a site-specific installation I might use site-specific sounds, which are chosen because of their relation to the place and not for their sonic characteristics.

4. What makes these sounds your favourite?

I enjoy using dissonant sounds, as they do not prescribe a particular scale in the mind of the listener. My focus is on the texture and gesture of particular sounds.

5. How do you go about starting or coming up with an idea for a composition? Do you personally use a similar approach each time? Or is it always different?

For site-specific installations I normally start with the place in question and form an idea based on its history and/or its acoustics. The acousmatic music I compose either starts from a particular sound or a narrative (which does not focus on a particular sound).

6. Which composers /musicians are an inspiration to you?

François Bayle, Denis Smalley, Max Neuhaus and György Ligeti.

7. What is it about this music that engages you so much?

The use of real-world sounds.

8. Could you pick a short section from one of your own pieces and describe how you created it?

Condemned (Installation excerpt)

There is little actual manipulation within this section. The majority of sounds retain their identity and are only amplified. The prominent sound gesture in this section was created using pitch shift and reverb to prolong the sound.

9. What were you trying to convey to the listener in this excerpt?

The sounds that maintained their identity were meant to provide a grounding for the listener whilst the prominent gesture was intended to sound at odds with the rest of the material.

10. If you were giving some general advice to someone who was beginning to compose a piece what would it be? What is the most important thing to remember when composing?

Focus on the sounds and how they work together.

Pick your sounds wisely.

Think about the pace of the music; try to gauge what feels right.

Don’t be afraid to have silence in a piece; you don’t always need to have something happening. The silence can aid in changing the focus/mood.