Lauren Redhead

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


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.


Rob Canning: Parallaxis

Parallaxis is a networked digital score piece by composer Rob Canning. I took part in a performance of this piece at The Digital Score project concert at Goldsmiths in June this year. You can hear a recording of the performance here. I am playing the piano and the other performers are Mick Feltham (midi sax), Danny Bright (electric guitar) and Will Baldry (turntables).

Full information about the piece can be found here but below is an extract of what Rob has to say about the work:

The Parallax Score System is a networked score system targeted at the web-browser. It is a multi-nodal server managed network. Each performer’s browser is a node in the system, the performer’s scores are tightly synchronised with one another over the network. In a traditional top down hierarchical mode a master/director control interface has individual control over each of the scores.

The score system adopts a familiar scrolling score paradigm, what is novel is that each of the parts of the score can scroll at different speeds from one another. The director of a performance “conducts” by altering the speed of the different performers and subsequently alters the temporal relationship between the parts. When this is observed, the parallax effect is apparent, hence the name of the system.

The scores produced for this system currently use a combination of traditional and graphic notation. Complex, organised rhythmic ensemble playing is made easily accessible to amateur or improvising musicians through the parallax temporal offsets.

The score server is hosted on a local area network, and bidirectional communications and controls are enabled through the use of node.js and websockets. The parallax.js server also sends a stream of OSC data in tandem with the websocket streams to allow integration and synchronisation of live electronics with the score.

The score may also be hosted on the public internet and used in tele-performance scenarios.


Music I Like: Richard Craig, bass flute improvisation

This video is of a performance that I got to hear about this performance slightly before it happened, and in the end was disappointed not to be able to go. I’m happy to be able to share this video here, and to have heard the music only a short time afterwards.

Richard Craig is a formidable flautist; I first heard him perform works by Ferneyhough and Dillon, alongside other equally complicated works, as a student. His performance in this video is in many ways quite far removed from that music: in the use of improvisation, and electronics, for example. However, there are also some parallels: the ability to understand and sensitively perform complex and multi-layered works is also evident here in the way that many levels can, at times, be perceived within this improvisation as well.

Here, the flute has been transformed into a feedback-instrument, and the electronics become part of a single instrument performed in the piece rather than an extra part of the performance. To me, this is very interesting music:

Richard Craig - Bass Flute (3 of 3) from Richard Craig on Vimeo.

You can listen to a number of Richard Craig’s performances—with and without electronics—here.

This website was created on a Mac and is best enjoyed without Internet Explorer. You can find even more information about me at the University of Leeds School of Music website or
© 2009 Lauren Redhead. Theme inspired by Sujay & Hunson. Image by Poe Tatum. Icons by Paul Robert Lloyd. Assembled in the UK by Matt Senior.