Peter Batchelor: composer, sound designer

Kaleidoscope: Cycle

for 8 channels • 2006-2013




The pieces in this series collectively explore the idea of elemental cyclicity, pursuing a narrative from fragmentation (Fissure (2006)) through fragment deployment across particulate structures and periodicity (Nebula (2012), Pulse (2013)), to reconstitution (Fuse (2013)).

Fissure (2006 • 9’47)

Download: 2ch (103Mb) • 8ch (616Mb) about the breaking of things. It is about destruction and fragmentation, division and fission; it is also about catalyst and commencement. Fissure therefore introduces the idea of the fragment out of which the following works in the series emerge. The piece explores the sounds of breaking environmental materials (e.g. cracking ice and thunder (celestial fracture)) and those of frictional play (grinding/sliding) with these broken materials.

Nebula (2012 • 13’17)

Download: 2ch (141Mb) • 8ch (857Mb) loosely inspired by the legend of Ys, a city swallowed by the sea off the Brittany coast whose ghostly cathedral bells reportedly remain audible when the sea is calm. As such, this piece celebrates the ephemeral, fleeting and transient through swirling textures and particulate sonic clouds. Periodically these particles coalesce or give way to coherent, solid soundscapes before exploding again into sonic nebulae.

Pulse (2013 • 8’04)

Download: 2ch (85Mb) • 8ch (512Mb)

..explores impulse along with rhythm and periodicity. It plays with real-world sounds which exhibit such behaviour, both mechanical (engines and machinery, bicycle chains, a record player, thudding helicopter blades) and natural (crickets), allying these with looped sound fragments and repeated rhythmic patterns. Musical relationships are sought between these various materials, and the polyrhythmic complexities that result from their combination.

Fuse (2013 • 9’40)

Download: 2ch (102Mb) • 8ch (614Mb)

...represents a coming-together of sonic particles into effluvial, noisy clusters, and into notionally ‘whole’ real-world soundscapes, albeit soundscapes which themselves involve sonic effluvia (rain on a tin roof, fire crackling, supporters at a football match). These in turn dissolve into and meld (fuse) with each other, yielding sound evolutions and marriages impossible in the real world and facilitated entirely by spectromorphological similarities.

The works deal with well-established concerns of acousmatic compositional practice. For example, each piece focuses on one of four stages along an articulation continuum identified by Denis Smalley: Fissure on predominantly attack characteristics and discrete events. Pulse on impulse and iteration, Nebula on granularity, and Fuse on effluvium. 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).

Spectromorophological characteristics relevant to a work's position on the continuum are enhanced by their deployment in space. 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, enabling the transformation of and transition between these landscapes.