Karen Lauke

Sound design and original composition

< Back to works list Works

Resonance FM - Framework: afield

  • Radio/Commercial

I produced a program entitled Composition or Sound Design> for Resonance FM Framework:afield. The program was aired on Sunday 8th November 2009. The program investigates the use of field recordings for sound design and composition. Two of my recent composition projects, Cities of Sound and Memories Unearthed are featured on the programme, to accompany interviews with sound designer Steve Brown and electroacoustic composer Ewan Stefani

Being a designer and composer myself I was interested to see to what extent both the theatre and the experimental music disciplines used field recordings so I could compare this to my own work.

Cities of Sound is a sonic exploration of the field recordings I have managed to collect over the past few years from different places and countries I have visited. I was very interested in bringing all the sounds together to produce an almost immersive soundscape.

Something I am very interested in examining at the moment is the relationship that field recordings can have in different places within musical composition. I have some extracts to play of an interview I conducted with Steve Brown who is a theatre sound designer at the royal exchange theatre in Manchester, Steve is also head of sound at the international organisation OISTAT. I am also going to play an interview conducted with Ewan Stefani who is a lecturer at Leeds University and an electroacoustic and acousmatic composer.

One of the main aspects I set out to achieve by conducting interviews between a theatre sound designer and electroacoustic composer was to see whether there were any similarities in the way that they used field recordings in their work

Ewan and Steve are both responding to questions I have asked them throughout my interview with them and at the end are responding directly to my question of where is sound design and electroacoustic music going in the future and are there any similarities to their respected fields to one another’s.

Comparing the work produced by Ewan and Steve to my own work, I can see many similarities in the way of style and format. To me the discipline of being an electroacoustic, acousmatic or experimental composer doesn’t differ or vary much to the work I carry out to a sound designer. I use field recordings quite heavily in my work whether design related or composition related. They have become more and more frequent over the years and now feature quite dominantly in my work.

I am very interested in organic field recordings and in the association sound can have with space and location. My recent work has developed into more site specific exhibition and installations.

Working as both a composer and sound designer I am very interested in examining the connections between the two disciplines and how a composer might see him or herself as a designer when using fields recordings and sound in an experimental way and how a sound designer might relate to themselves as a composer because of the way they are structuring and composing a musical piece.

I have recently been involved in composing and producing a piece titled Memories Unearthed which was an outdoor sound installation at a country park in Salford, Manchester.

Memories Unearthed is an experimental soundscape which was produced by using various field recordings that were taking from the park in Salford and fused alongside various recordings I have produced and reproduced that would have been associated with a colliery that was once based in the area, namely the Wet Earth Colliery. The installation was produced for an event titled Dirt and Dreams which commemorated the work of those that worked in the mining industry.

The environmental field recordings specifically heard at the beginning and end of the piece were produced with the help of local children and families that came along to a workshop that was run in the park and involved them participating in a soundwalk around the area. Recordings were made and I tried to incorporate as many as possible into the piece.

Composition or Sound Design (2009)
Collaborators: Steve Brown (Sound Design); Ewan Stefani (Composition)
Producer: Karen Lauke