Lauren Redhead

My name is Lauren Redhead and I am a composer from the UK.
I am interested in new music and new aesthetics.

Creative Pact 2014

Anyone who has followed this blog for a while will know that each year I try to take part in CreativePact, with varying degrees of success. However, each year I find it very stimulating and useful in terms of developing my thinking and creative practice. Even when I’ve failed to make very many posts about the project, the impetus to think about my own work—and also following the posts about other people’s projects and seeing how they develop—has been stimulating and given me, if not new material, ideas for tacking future work.

The ‘rules’ of the Creative Pact are as follows:
* Choose a project. This could be working on a current creative project, learning a new skill, or studying and trying out a particular software (or anything else that you can think of)
* Choose a date to start your project. In general, Creative Pact lasts for a month
* If you don’t already have one, set up a blog on which you can document the progress of your project
* Let the lovely people of Creative Pact know the title of your project and the address of your website/bog/twitter so that other people can follow your project
* Post each day about the work that you have done and the progress that you have made

I can really recommend this to anyone involved in creative work. You don’t need to do a huge amount of work to keep it going, your blog could be a photograph or an essay; a recording of an improvisation or some code; the idea is for a community of creative practitioners to support each other in developing their work.

This year it has been difficult for me to choose what to do. This is because I’ve recently finished a number of projects and although I have a potentially large project to work on in the future, that is not yet at the stage where I can make working on it into a month-long investigation. As an academic, I also need to make good use of my time during the summer to complete research tasks, some of which relate to my creative practice. In the past I have had the most success with Creative Pact projects that were related to ongoing work.

On Monday will begin an installation piece, called exchange.practice which involves doing something every day (recording and producing notation). You can read about that here. When this piece finishes I’ll have a lot of documentation to deal with, including making fixed media records of the work and thinking about what it might lead to. This summer I also have a lot to do in terms of sorting through documentation of research that I did during the year, re-visiting recent pieces and finalising scores and recordings.

Although perhaps not the most exciting project, it then seems to make sense for my creative pact to take the form of a review of my practice, beginning with the installation exchange practice on the 28th July. This will actually give me pause to do something that there often seems not enough time to do: to take stock and reflect on why I make the work that I make, in the way that I do, and look for ways that I can challenge myself further.

So, my Creative Pact will have the following aims:
* document creative exchanges as part of the installation exchange.practice and after
* produce documentation of, and of the review of, recent creative practice
* review my recent creative practice, in part through creating composition-based exercises that I can do each day
* use this review, and these exercises, to create abstract material that might be used in future work

Here are the full details:

Title: exchange.practice:exchange, review, and documentation of creative practice
Description: I will be documenting and extending the installation exchange.practice (taking place from 28.07-03.08 between the UK and the US) to further document, examine and respond to my recent creative practice, and will use these responses to creative abstract compositional materials for future work
Starting: 28th July

You can follow my Creative Pact by this blog and my twitter account: @laurenredhead


YardWork Installation, exchange.practice, 28.07.14-03.08.14



I have been offered the opportunity to produce a piece for an installation bcreated by artist R. Armstrong called Yard Work. This is a fixed, but mobile, outdoor installation that interacts with its environment and with anyone passing. I find this an exciting idea, and something quite removed from what I usually do as a musician. Last year, however, I made the installation vertical features of 12 scores which was displayed at the bandstand in Barrow park as part of the Full of Noises festival in 2013. Despite many community projects in the past, this was a first experience of ‘art in public places’ in that the piece was not intended to serve some particular need, idea, or development of the community but simply presented my work in a way that made it accessible for anyone who might pass.

When thinking about work that I could present as part of Yard Work I also had in my mind the exchange that I have already had with R. Armstrong as part of previous and ongoing projects. This seemed like an opportunity to make work that drew on this exchange and collaboration rather than presenting a piece that didn’t acknowledge the history of work between us. In 2012 I created a piece called sound.practice. This became the starting point for the work. Although this piece stands alone as a separate work, with an idea of instrumental performance and instrumentality at the centre of it, the central tenet of over-recording is preserved.

Conceptual Outline

exchange.practice is a correspondence and over-recording project between the US and the UK lasting 7 days.
A recording made in the UK is played at an installation in the US. This event is recorded and the recording returned to the UK. The recording will then be played in the UK and a further re cording made. Across the week this will result in 14 recordings. Over time a collage of sound will be built up, with sounds recorded earlier in the week receding into the background compared with more recent sounds.

The music interacts with both sound and the memory of sound. Unlike other works of over-recording—such as Alvin Lucier’s I am sitting in a room—no feedback loop is created but the space is infinitely extended. It is not focused on the infinite possibilities within a single sound, nor on the infinite possibilities of sound itself, but on the infinite possibility of interaction of sound even within a finite window.

As well as building a picture of ever-expanding environment, encompassing the US and the UK and closing the distance between them. This allows for a dialogue between the two sites. During the recording, any sounds that are made will be captured. This, in turn, allows for intervention in the piece by the composer, artist, and others passing in both sites which might include: sounds, speech, musical performance, or commentary.

In the UK, during each subsequent recording, the composer will reaction to what has been captured on the recording in the form of (live) notation which will be complied during the length of the recording. This will be scanned and sent to the US where it can be displayed in the installation both during and before/after the performance. The option exists for the interpretation of this notation by those passing the installation or the artist; similarly intervention in the received notation might be made by the artist and archived as part of the project.

A manifesto of the piece will be provided for the installation.


The duration of the exchange is 7 days.
There are many possible lengths for the recordings from the length of a concert performance to extended durations.

Although an intention of the piece is to foreground environmental sound, the notion of the environment as music, or of soundscape as music, is already well-explored.The possibility of bringing this sound into the domain of concert performance through a shorter duration is a possibility, opening the potential for a fixed work as an outcome of the performance. A fixed duration also frames the performance and defines the time-window for intervention, although not the scope of the piece/installation which is defined by the display of the notation.


The title of the original work (sound.practice) might be desirable to retain because the basic premise of the work remains the same. However, the further developed aspects of the work also deviate from the original intentions of this title. exchange.practice, the new title, reflects both the origins of the piece and its unique aspects.


Due to the time difference the UK recordings will be made 1st (in advance) so that they are supplied to the artist in good time for each performance event. Whilst the US site is a fixed installation the UK site need not be. Due to there being no fixed location to perform the work in a single public setting in the UK a number of locations might be explored including my own garden and a garden at my work, extending the “Yard Work” concept of the original installation.

Live Notation

The initial recording in the UK will not yield live notation but will be accompanied by a statement of the time and date of the recording. All future over-recordings will yield live notation, but all will include a statement of the time and date of the recording/notation.

Notation may include: musical fragments, glyphs, text, collage, or a lack of response.

Performance aspect

After the initial recording iteration, the piece comprises 13 performances. The iterative approach taken is, by its nature, ritualised and performative. As a result, the piece is also a performance undertaken by those who observe it.


The piece will yield:
14 separate recordings
7+ scores
A manifesto
A final studio work, created as a layered recording after the end of the work


Music I Like: Ryoko Akama, tada no score

This is a different kind of ‘music I like’ post since there is no audio in it! Ryoko Akama’s piece tada no score has many forms, and can be performed as a concert work—or in other circumstances too—but first and foremost it is a concept and a collection of objects.

There is a page about the work on her website, here, and she also gives a very concise description of the piece:

'tada no score' is translated in two ways
1 an only/just a piece of score
2 a free score
I find objects in the world, write texts and place nearby for any potential performers who happen to see the pieces.

Ryoko has also made a flikr page which shows examples of the tada no score project in different places.

For those of you who would still like to hear some sound, the following video includes some audio and spoken documentary of another piece by Ryoko, Pulse, which incorporates an innovative multimedia collaboration:

pulse - tone of orient project + pulse project from ryoko akama on Vimeo.


Music I Like: Kristian Ireland, opposing stricture

Kristian Ireland is an Australian composer who is frequently based in Europe. I really enjoy the level of detail in his compositions, and especially that his music tries to bring out something which is on the edge of hearing, or the edge of what is possible for certain techniques, voices, or instruments.

As an excellent example of this I’ve chosen the piece opposing stricture for six voices, perfumed here by Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart:

I really enjoy how the music is both fragile and tactile; engaging the listener but somehow evading them also. I also like how although the piece employs ‘extended’ vocal techniques Kristian uses these in the manner of singing, creating a seamless texture in the ensemble as well as a variety of textures in each of the individual parts.

More of Kristian’s works can be found at his Soundcloud page.

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