Dr Peter Batchelor

Job: Senior Lecturer

Faculty: Technology

School/department: Leicester Media School

Research group(s): Music, Technology and Innovation Research Centre (MTIRC)

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, UK, LE1 9BH

T: +44 (0)116 207 8563

E: pbatchelor@dmu.ac.uk

W: www.peterbatchelor.com

 

Personal profile

Dr Peter Batchelor is a Senior Lecturer in Music, Technology and Innovation.  He studied with Jonty Harrison and Andrew Lewis and, having completed a PhD in composition at the University of Birmingham, joined the team at De Montfort in 2003.

His music draws strongly on the aesthetics and compositional concerns of the acousmatic tradition, but uses this heritage as a springboard to investigate a variety of other genres and presentation formats for electroacoustic media including radiophonic documentary, live-electronics and improvisation, multimedia and large-scale multi-channel installation work.  More recently his interest has shifted towards site-specific public (sound) art, including the fabrication of aural landscapes and sonic illusion (trompe l’oreille).

His work has received recognition from such sources as the Concours de musique electroacoustique de Bourges and the International ElectroAcoustic Music Contest of São Paulo and has been presented internationally.

Publications and outputs 

  • Through the Looking Glass: Reflectivity vs Transparency; and the embedding of Place through Sound.
    Through the Looking Glass: Reflectivity vs Transparency; and the embedding of Place through Sound. Batchelor, Peter Presenting electroacoustic music has traditionally involved large spaces and high quality listening environments set up in (very often) architecturally imposing spaces. Recent works of mine involve the development of smaller-scale multichannel environments using affordable speakers and DIY construction techniques. While retaining the capacity for spatial interest and precision in sound localisation, this accommodates much more intimate listening conditions for audiences along, importantly, with portability, which in turn allows the presentation of rich multichannel sound worlds in settings far removed from the normal concert situation. Such environments encourage consideration of how sound materials appropriated from life might be experienced when, after creative/compositional intervention, they are reinserted back into life (the real world). This in turn invites exploration of ‘rhythm[s] between transparency and reflectivity’ (Bolter and Grom (2004)) of the artistic ‘interface', where the boundary between real and unreal sound environments become ambiguous, and consideration of how musical space might be reconceived in terms of its relationship with place.
  • Cascade
    Cascade Batchelor, Peter Much of my research to date has been concerned with the relationship between acousmatic compositional practice and sound art. In Batchelor 2015, I attempted to identify some potential overlaps and compatibilities between these two apparently incompatible forms which might prove fruitful when applied to broader, Sound Art-related practice. A not inconsiderable part of my discussion concerned the relevance of acousmatic music to a wider listenership, and how such work might be brought to new audiences. I argue that there is much to be gained from the application of acousmatic compositional techniques and practices to sound art contexts, and that detailed ‘musical’ as well as referential listening might be encouraged in real-world contexts if appropriate strategies are implemented to accommodate it. One of the aspects of acousmatic music most immediately compelling to the uninitiated listener is the deployment of sound in space. However, the large-scale coordinated multichannel speaker arrays required for the high-quality presentation of acousmatic works are usually seen as the preserve of institutions who can provide the resource required for reliable, high quality signal processing and sample-accurate digital audio conversion. Recent developments in low-cost computing, however, allow affordable distributed networks which, while requiring certain compromises and modifications to workflow, can nevertheless accommodate rich acousmatic soundscape generation over multiple channels at a relatively low cost. This in turn permits the development of particularly extravagant multichannel arrays. As such, since 2004, I have been developing a series of works, collectively entitled GRIDs, comprising such affordable, user-defined multichannel arrays. These are sculptural insofar as they are physical, navigable objects comprising geometric configurations of many (in some cases potentially hundreds of) loudspeakers. Being so massively (and geometrically) multichannel, they permit the generation of extremely intricate and immersive spatial sound environments, which encourage ambulatory investigation and scrutiny. My approach to the composition of material for all of these environments has emerged directly from an acousmatic compositional aesthetic and associated spatialisation practice, employed with a view to exploring how listeners might engage with constructed image space (e.g. experiencing it through, beyond, or within the physical object). The current work, Cascade (2018), presents a flat-panel array of 256 small loudspeakers suspended in a 16x16 array above the listener. The volume of speakers is accommodated by the use of affordable technologies as described above—in this case, networked Raspberry Pi computers and cheap multichannel gaming interfaces. Aside from exploring the technical and aesthetic challenges inherent in managing such volumes of loudspeakers with a view to creating a coherent spatial sound environment, the installation seeks, through a series of short compositions, to consider the deployment of acousmatic compositional materials and strategies across the ‘flat panel’ speaker space. Batchelor, P., 2015. Acousmatic Approaches to the Construction of Image and Space in Sound Art. Organised Sound, 20(2), pp.148-159. For further information: http://www.peterbatchelor.com/cascade
  • Acousmatic Approaches to the Construction of Image and Space in Sound Art
    Acousmatic Approaches to the Construction of Image and Space in Sound Art Batchelor, Peter This article considers ideas of image and space as they apply to acousmatic music and to sound art, establishing overlaps and compatibilities which are perhaps overlooked in the current trend to consider these two genres incompatible. Two issues in particular are considered: compositional (especially mimesis and the construction of image, and what shall be termed ‘ephemeral narrative’) and presentational (in particular multi- channel speaker deployment). While exploring several relevant works within this discussion, by way of a case study the article introduces the author’s GRIDs project – a series of four multichannel sound sculptures united in their arrangement in geometric arrays of many (in some cases potentially hundreds of) loudspeakers. These permit, by virtue of being so massively (and geometrically) multichannel, the generation of extremely intricate spatial sound environments – fabricated landscapes – that emerge directly from an acousmatic compositional aesthetic. Owing to their alternative means of presentation and presentation contexts, however, they offer very different experiences from those of acousmatic music encountered in the concert hall. So the latter part of this article explores the various ways in which the listener might engage with constructed image space within these sound sculptures, along with the relationship of the audio content of each with its visual and situational setup – that is, its environment.
  • Beyond
    Beyond Batchelor, Peter A series of geodesic spherical structures with speakers placed in the vertices between the triangular panels of each. Listeners sit within the domes, experiencing sound circumferencially and distally—always outwards/surrounding. The spheres are designed to be unenclosed and thus acoustically transparent, enabling a listener within to experience the soundscape beyond the playing loudspeakers (ideally a park or other outdoor public space) as an extension of that presented by the dome itself. This work emerges logically from previous REF outputs Studies on Canvas (REF2007) and DOME (REF2013).
  • Kaleidoscope: Cycle (multichannel electroacoustic compositions, 2013)
    Kaleidoscope: Cycle (multichannel electroacoustic compositions, 2013) Batchelor, Peter Fissure (2006) [completed prior to REF period; submitted for RAE 2008] Nebula (2012) Pulse (2013) Fuse (2013) This series continues my exploration of spatialisation strategies in the composition of multichannel acousmatic music, presenting immersive sound fields that are spatially and musically coherent irrespective of audience position/orientation. It employs strategies of spatial deployment that involve peripheral, rotational, oppositional and envelopment activities and relationships (in contrast to left/right and back/front) such that listeners receive similar subjective weightings (relative levels) of front, sides and rear wherever they are situated (even if the positions/trajectories of spatial gestures are perceived uniquely by each). Collectively the works explore the idea of elemental cyclicity, pursuing a narrative from fragmentation (Fissure), through fragment deployment across particulate structures and periodicity (Nebula, Pulse), to reconstitution (Fuse). Through this narrative, the works deal with well-established concerns of acousmatic compositional practice, enhanced by the above spatialisation strategies. For example, each piece focuses on one of four stages along an articulation continuum identified by Smalley: Fissure on predominantly attack characteristics and discrete events, Pulse on impulse and iteration, Nebula on granularity, and Fuse on effluvium. Spectromorphological characteristics relevant to a work’s position on the continuum are enhanced by their spatial deployment. Issues of aural/mimetic discourse (Emmerson) are also explored: poetic implications of each title play out through the chosen source materials and their treatment, and the works frequently transition between recognition and non-recognition, often allying anecdotal materials alluding to physical processes or states with musical equivalents (e.g. openness and closure, anacrusis and cadence). The ability to fabricate sound landscapes such that ‘the walls disappear’ within a concert environment is facilitated by the spatialisation techniques applied to the materials, facilitating the transformation of and transition between these landscapes.
  • Lowercase Strategies in Public Sound Art: celebrating the transient audience
    Lowercase Strategies in Public Sound Art: celebrating the transient audience Batchelor, Peter Public art invariably involves the drawing of individuals into the roles of audience and participant by virtue of it being in the public domain – in public places where those individuals are getting on with their everyday lives. As such, a large proportion of the ‘audience’ is an unwitting one, subjected to the art rather than subscribing to it. This is equally true of public sound art, where response to an intervention may vary from engagement to non-engagement to indifference to unawareness, along with a variety of transitional states between. This essay seeks to investigate this ambiguous territory in public sound art, proposing it both as an area rich in possibility for creative exploration and as a means by which artists may reveal and encourage sensitivity to the existing characteristics of a site (thus accommodating the pursuit of agendas relating to acoustic ecology). In particular it investigates and presents a case for the use of lowercase strategies in sound art as ways in which the public might be invited into a dialogue with works (invitation rather than imposition) and thus empowered as partakers of public sound art.
  • The intimate and the immersive in grids: Multichannel sound installations.
    The intimate and the immersive in grids: Multichannel sound installations. Batchelor, Peter
  • Towards a framework for analysing public sound art.
    Towards a framework for analysing public sound art. Batchelor, Peter
  • Kaleidoscope: fissure (2004, 9'32) electroacoustic composition (C3R records double CD reflection)
    Kaleidoscope: fissure (2004, 9'32) electroacoustic composition (C3R records double CD reflection) Batchelor, Peter Premiere: Trinity Chapel, Leicester: 20.6.06. Further performances of Kaleidoscope: Fissure: SARC, Queens University, Belfast (2007); DMRN, Leeds Metropolitan University (2007); SEAMS, Fylkingen, Sweden (2007); Ai-maako 2006, Santiago, Chile (2006) Publication: Reflections, C3R Records double CD [C3R014], (stereo reduction) Research summary: Kaleidoscope: Fissure continues and develops the Kaleidoscope model in its exploration of spatialisation strategies in the composition of a multichannel acousmatic work. The piece investigates a variety of sonic materials and behaviours suggested by its title—in particular violent environmental forces triggering the splitting, rending, division and fracture of elemental materials (e.g. cracking ice and rock, lightning). As such it explores explosion and fragmentation, catalyst and commencement in both its referential and cinematic content and its gestural and musical handling of materials—thus allying physical processes or states with musical equivalents (e.g. openness and closure, anacrusis and cadence). In its pursuit of such musical/behavioural allegory and emulation, its exploration and evocation of sonic environment—and in particular the spatial deployment of materials in such contexts (issues pertaining to which are discussed in ‘Fabricating aural landscapes: the referential and trompe l’oreille in multi-channel installation contexts’ (EMS07, http://www.ems-network.org/spip.php?article289)), its combination of musical and poetic preoccupations and structuring, and its development of the Kaleidoscope series, this work complements and extends research carried out in Outcomes 1 and 2. The piece implements granular technique extensively in peripheral, rotational, oppositional and envelopment spatial activities and relationships, and in addition to the modification of gesture generation and spatialisation software developed for Outcomes 1 and 2, its realisation required the development of new tools to enable granulation and redeployment of fragmented materials to multichannel space (see supplemental information: http://www.mti.dmu.ac.uk/~peterb/outcome3.html#software).
  • Kaleidoscope: arcade (2004, 8'40) electroacoustic composition (C3R records double CD reflection)
    Kaleidoscope: arcade (2004, 8'40) electroacoustic composition (C3R records double CD reflection) Batchelor, Peter Premiere: Gare du Nord, Basel: 18.6.05. Further performances: Seoul International Computer Music Festival (2007); ICMC, Copenhagen (2007); CBSO Centre, Birmingham (2007); Keele University (2007); MANTIS, Manchester (2007); Musique & Recherches, Brussels (2006); Aix en Provence (2005). Publication: Reflections, C3R Records double CD [C3R014], (binaural reduction) Research summary: Kaleidoscope: Arcade explores spatialisation strategies in multichannel acousmatic works as an extension of (or challenge to) existing electroacoustic concert presentation practice. It proposes a relatively flexible listening environment, such that—in contrast to (implied-)spectacle-based front-to-back seating conventions—spatial orientation is not prescribed. It embraces qualitatively different perceptions of a work between listeners based on their positions in space, abandoning the idea (as in stereo diffusion models) of an ideal/preferred and fixed listening position. To this end, the piece is presented via a circular array of loudspeakers (both 12- and 8- channel versions, as well as binaural-see CD (encoding by Lorenzo Picinali)) which permits peripheral, oppositional and envelopment spatial activities and relationships (not explicitly left/right or front/back) such that—although the relative placements and trajectories of spatial activity will be perceived differently by different listeners—the overall musical, spatial and structural content of the work should remain coherent irrespective of an individual listener’s position or orientation (see http://www.mti.dmu.ac.uk/~peterb/outcome2.html for more information). The work’s referential content complements this technical exploration: material taken from, or implying arcade origins (pinball flippers, springs and sound effects, rolling balls and coin-operated mechanisms) is treated playfully and musically, in the absence of an explicit narrative, while the extrapolation of internal spectro-behavioural detail conventionally explored as an acousmatic compositional concern is extended to include spatio-behavioural detail. As such it echoes many of the concerns expressed in later research concerning the fabricated aural landscape, though the emphasis is here on poetic commentary on the sound materials rather than a pursuit of the illusion of ‘real life’.

Click here for a full listing of Peter Batchelor's publications and outputs

Key research outputs

  • DOME (Geodesic sound dome for 26 loudspeakers) (2012)
  • Nebula — 8 channel acousmatic work (2011)
  • Fissure — 8 channel acousmatic work (2006)
  • Studies on Canvas — 30 channel flat-panel installation (2004)
  • Kaleidoscope: Arcade — 12 channel acousmatic work (2004)

Research interests/expertise

Acousmatic Composition, Installation Art, Public Art, Multichannel Sound Deployment, Trompe L’oreille.

Areas of teaching

  • Programming using Max/MSP
  • Composition and creative work
  • Sound in Space
  • Installation Art

Qualifications

  • BMus—University of Wales, Bangor (1996)
  • MPhil—University of Wales, Bangor (1997)
  • PhD—University of Birmingham (2004)

Courses taught

  • MUST1001 Foundations of Music
  • MUST1002 Techniques of Digital Audio
  • MUST1008 Creating with Technology
  • MUST1009 Digital Cultures
  • MUST2007 Sound in Space
  • MUST3021 Advanced Creative Projects
  • MUST3028 Installation Art
  • MUST3000/3024 Dissertation/Final Project

Honours and awards

  • Finalist in the Sounds Electric ’07 Competition, Dundalk Institute of Technology, Ireland 
  • Mention in the 'Quadrivium' category of the 34e Concours Internationaux de Musique et d'Art Sonore Electroacoustiques de Bourges 2007
  • 2nd Prize in the CIMESP'99 competition, São Paulo, Brazil
  • Mention in the 'Quadrivium' category of the 25e Concours de Musique Electroacoustique de Bourges 1998

Membership of external committees

International Computer Music Association

 

Conference attendance

International Computer Music Conference, Ljubljana, Slovenia — Sep 2012

Sound and Music Computing Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark — Jul 2012

International Computer Music Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark — Aug 2007

Current research students

Simon Smith (MA by independent research): 2nd supervisor.

 

Professional esteem indicators

Reviewer: Organised Sound

 

Other forms of public presentation

(selected recent performances/presentations)

09-14.09.12: International Computer Music Conference, Jakopic Gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenia (DOME installation)

11-14.07.12: Sound & Music Computing Conference, Aalborg University, Copenhagen, Denmark (DOME installation)

13.03.12: Invited concert, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow, UK (Kaleidoscope: Fissure; Nebula)

04.05.11: HYDRA electroacoustic music and video concert, Paine Hall, Harvard University (Kaleidoscope: Arcade)

30.10.10: Jugendzentrum "mon ami", Weimar, Germany (Kaleidoscope: Arcade)

27.05.10: Greek Orthodox Church, Old Fortress, Ionian University, Corfu, Greece (Kaleidoscope: Fissure)

29.07.10: Inventionen 2010, Elisabethkirche, Berlin, Germany (Kaleidoscope: Fissure)

06.02.10: Soundings, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh (Kaleidoscope: Fissure)

06.06.09: Sound Junction 2009, University of Sheffield, Sheffield (Kaleidoscope: Fissure)

00.04.09: Sibelius Academy, Helsinki, Finland (Kaleidoscope: Fissure)

11.01.08: 25 yrs BEAST, George Cadbury Hall, Birmingham, UK (Kaleidoscope: Fissure)

07.02.08: ÉuCuE: serie XXVI series, Salle de concert Oscar Peterson, université Concordia, Montreal, Quebec (Kaleidoscope: Fissure; Kaleidoscope: Arcade)

29.02.08: Sonic Space, SEAMS (Society for Electroacoustic Music in Sweden), Fylkingen, Sweden (Kaleidoscope: Arcade)

29.04.08: ElectriCity, The Great Hall, City University, London (Kaleidoscope: Fissure)

15.08.08: VII BIMESP 2008, SESC Vila Mariana, São Paulo, Brazil (Kaleidoscope: Arcade)

25.11.08: LA Sonic Odyssey, Pasadena, CA, USA (Kaleidoscope: Arcade)

Peter Batchelor

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