Micro Cuts (song)

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Muse song
Name Micro Cuts
Length 3:38
Alternative titles Bass Trem
First live performance 19th October 2000
Latest live performance 2nd July 2016 (full) 3rd December 2018 (outro riff)
Recorded Real World Studio Wiltshire, 2001
Writer/composer Matthew Bellamy
Producer John Leckie



A blend of baroque melody, high pitched vocals and metal. Matthew Bellamy uses falsetto vocals peaking at G5 during the chorus and Ab5 in descending vocals towards the end.

Matt said that the song was inspired by a dream he had in which he was in a desert and there were giant blades swinging from the sky, matt said: "I was having these strange hallucinations of this triangular blade, really silver metallic, razor sharp. I was in this landscape, arid, grey, dead with an endless horizon and I was trying to dodge these blades that were flying about everywhere. They'd go into my head and I could feel them cutting into my brain... Then I went to the doctor and he told me to drink more water and that was that." [1]

"Micro Cuts" has been speculated to have been inspired by Prelude N°3 in D minor (BWV999) by Johann-Sebastian Bach.

Matthew Bellamy definition of Micro Cuts

"This stems from hallucinations I had of triangular blades cutting into the back of my head. It's a feeling that information is being infiltrated into your brain. I'd seen a TV programme about psychological warfare and how the government could be controlling us using a type of radiation, sending pulses to our brains. So micro cuts are cuts into your being that you can't see or avoid"[2]


Micro Cuts is a metal song, with elements of baroque music. It's written in D minor, and moves at a very fast tempo of 160 bpm. The time signature frequently shifts between 4/4 and 6/4.

Bellamy's vocal range spans from D4 to A♭5, and shares his highest recorded note with Showbiz and Survival. Similar to Supermassive Black Hole, Bellamy never uses the modal register, even on lower notes where falsetto is difficult to maintain. His tone is very different in both songs, defying the common belief that the falsetto register is limited in tonal variation.


Live favourite on the 2001 and 2002 tours. It was performed at just two known gigs in 2000, where it was only known as "New 2" or "the heavy song" by fans. The first time Micro Cuts was played live in 2001, it featured different lyrics in place of "Micro waves me insane, A blade cuts in your brain" and the chorus. Early live versions featured an extended outro that featured parts of the song "Execution Commentary", as well as extra lyrics.

The descending vocals towards the end of the song have been played intermittently through time. During early 2001 it wasn't sung at all, and post 2002 it wasn't usually sung, although one example of the descending vocals post-2002 was at The Mercy Lounge in 2004. In the latter half of the 2005 tour, the post-final-chorus section was used as an outro to "Stockholm Syndrome" on at least two occasions.

"Micro Cuts" made a return to set lists during the 2007 European tour. The first performance of 2007 featured a largely clean guitar (without effects), while further performances feature a "new effect", which mimics the layering on the album recording. The descending vocals have not returned, while vocals have been clean so far. After the final chorus and before the final decent, Bellamy has used the Kaoss pad to create a sound similar to the Kaoss pad solo and outro used with live "Supermassive Black Hole" performances.

Played occasionally during the Absolution and the Black Holes and Revelations tours. A live version of "Micro Cuts" appears on the live albums Hullabaloo Soundtrack and H.A.A.R.P..

During The Resistance tour, the outro is played in place of the outro to "Dead Star" and on The 2nd Law tour, the song was played after the roulette wheel landed on green on the April 24th gig at Montreal. It was the first time that the song had been played since the Reading & Leeds festivals in 2011. The song was finally played during Tokyo Zepp gig, before it mades its return in 2015 for the Download Festival.

More here


Hands are red with your blame

Megaphone screaming my name Whimpers someone I should've loved Souls weeping above

I've seen What you’re doing to me Destroying puppet strings To our souls

Micro waves me insane A blade cuts in your brain Sounds like forks on a plate Blackboard scratched with hate

I've seen What you’re doing to me Destroying puppet strings To our souls

Early live version

Early versions included an extra vocal piece towards the end - though the wording is not known - and included sections of the riff from Execution Commentary.

Florence 2007 version

Souls screaming above


instead of

Souls weeping above


  1. NME - Vengeance is ours! [November 2001]
  2. Rock Sound - 2001
  3. [Florence 2007-05-30 recording]. Muselive. Retrieved from www.muselive.com.

See also

Go back to Origin of Symmetry