Intransigent play: exploring Derek Bailey's practice through his practise

Wednesday 15 May 2019, 4.00PM

Speaker(s): Dr Dominic Lash (University of Bristol)

In this seminar I will explore some aspects of the work of improvising guitarist Derek Bailey (1930-2005), drawing on his recorded output and his published writings as well as on unpublished manuscripts from his archive. I will explore Bailey's musical practice by looking at his "practise" in the straightforward sense familiar to all musicians: the material that he practised. 

As well as giving the lie to the idea that practise is a paradoxical activity for a free improviser, such an approach is very illuminating with respect to Bailey's wider understanding of and approach to music. The seminar will conclude with some reflections on some possible implications of Bailey's practice for our thinking about musical form and value.


Dr Dominic Lash has been active as an improvising musician for two decades, with over sixty published recordings. Dominic has performed with musicians such as Tony Conrad (in duo and quartet formations), Joe Morris (trio and quartet), Evan Parker (duo, quartet and large ensemble) and the late Steve Reid. His main projects include The Dominic Lash Quartet, The Set Ensemble (an experimental music group focused on the work of the Wandelweiser collective) and The Convergence Quartet. In 2010 he completed a PhD that examined the work of Derek Bailey, Helmut Lachenmann, and the poet JH Prynne. More recently he has moved into film studies and has just completed a PhD thesis on confusion and disorientation in narrative film, studying films by David Lynch, Leos Carax, Pedro Costa, and Jean-Luc Godard.

Location: Sally Baldwin D Block | D003