Robert van Heumen Composer Improvisor Laptop-Instrumentalist Sound-Designer
Back to west28.nl

(music player)
Whistle Pig Saloon


Whistle Pig Saloon is the live audio collaboration of Robert van Heumen (Computer/controllers) and John Ferguson (Guitar/effects).

"Wide and disjointed, blending a fractured pulse with dynamic texture, this is an immersive and disorientating music, sometimes subtle, often invasive, always close. In capturing a moment and inscribing agency, the motionblur of the cover art offers a suitable metaphor for this duo’s musical interactions. Live sampled source sounds are gesturally manipulated and reworked within open ended narratives, sounding like an air whistle blasting out from an old steam locomotive as it emerges at speed from a tunnel. Whilst the whistle pig/groundhog (day) reference explores cycles of repetition beyond episodic improvisation, emphasising the value of revisiting and re-appropriating a previous moment. John configures the electric guitar as a site for multiple simultaneous points of interaction and queries the iconic cultural status of his instrument via feet, fingers and feedback. Robert crunches, growls and smashes both John`s live sampled sound as well as his private stack of industrial bits and organic beats."

Download Whistle Pig Saloon promosheet and high resolution images.
See also: http://fergalstrandy.co.uk






CD



Released in March 2009 on Creative Sources Recordings | Recorded at Culturelab Newcastle.

Click on the titles to play



Robert van Heumen - Computer/controllers
John Ferguson - Guitar/effects

"Wide and disjointed, blending a fractured pulse with dynamic texture, this is an immersive and disorientating music, sometimes subtle, often invasive, always close. In capturing a moment and inscribing agency, the motionblur of the cover art offers a suitable metaphor for this duo’s musical interactions. Live sampled source sounds are gesturally manipulated and reworked within open ended narratives, sounding like an air whistle blasting out from an old steam locomotive as it emerges at speed from a tunnel. Whilst the whistle pig/groundhog (day) reference explores cycles of repetition beyond episodic improvisation, emphasising the value of revisiting and re-appropriating a previous moment. John configures the electric guitar as a site for multiple simultaneous points of interaction and queries the iconic cultural status of his instrument via feet, fingers and feedback. Robert crunches, growls and smashes both John`s live sampled sound as well as his private stack of industrial bits and organic beats."




Reviews



Whistle Pig Saloon are Robert van Heumen on laptop and controllers and John Ferguson on guitar and effects. Their music deals with drastically misshapen textures, instigated at first by Ferguson’s axe; at times they sound processed in advance and already unrecognisable per se, or else the cure applied by Van Heumen alters – make that “devastates” – whatever original trait is left of the six-stringed apparatus. It goes without saying that the large part of this record is frantically running from an inner space to the other, its whimsicality dictated by systematic changes in timbre and dynamics. There were occasions, during a headphone sitting, in which your correspondent was continually decreasing the volume to evade membrane stabbing. Essentially, a sense of explosive fluency underlines the skilled building of a 43-minute textural citadel, presenting the project as an interactive 2-head unit that knows what to do at any given moment. Scrambling across a multitude of dangers, the couple manages to remain unscathed by the redundant garbles that frequently classify several brands of feather-brained computer-fuelled gobbledygook. Starting from semi-agnosticism in terms of related genres, these gentlemen ended up creating a form of their own.

Massimo Ricci - Touching Extremes



There is an ongoing tradition in academic electroacoustic music: over thinking and too much talk. Composers spend months of preparation for a piece, forming a system and working out every detail to eschew errors and exert control over the processes of a once-exciting creative spark. This occasionally works, but more than naught — even with the elder statesmen of the genre — these factors equal a sterile homogeny and a lack of happy accidents and exciting miscues that lead to attractive tangents. Because of the complexity and otherworldly nature of their sonic palette, many then feel the best way to connect (aka apologize) an audience to their universe is through lengthy extra-musical programs that break down the results. Unfortunately, this desire ultimately stunts the mystery an audience could feel while mentally interpreting the work.

Robert van Heumen and John Ferguson, however, prefer to withhold their agenda, leaving listeners free to enjoy and translate this almost-palpably visual, cerebral yet immediately mesmeric work as they see fit. With that, to say "the duo launches into their set" is a fitting metaphor, as this music exudes the grace and violence of a NASA enterprise: at times lingering in static poses on the dark side of the moon, other moments crashing face-first into the sun. On "Perpetual Mole", shimmering, hammered, pitch-bending guitar chords hover above barely-registered high frequency blips and swirling bursts of hiss. Soon, all systems are go and the music literally blasts off, mangling the digital limit and overwhelming the soundboard with psychoacoustic mischief (the passage will make you look up and wonder — one, who put a pack of dogs on my roof? and two, why are they stomping? — before settling into a floating gesture of pops and echoing harmonics. After a mountain of sub-woofer rumbles and ear-drum-piercing feedback — a clamor definitely heard inside a shuttle's boosters — Ferguson interrupts "Somatic Listening" with a naked, jazzy excerpt of "Blackbird", a phrase van Heumen immediately aborts in favor of more thunder; interestingly, the duo repeatedly skews the line of "what is tension, what is release", and you find yourself more uneasy and rigid during the quieter, representational moments.

The two continue in this fashion throughout the disc, reeling off an endless host of keen, compound sounds with an inimitable familiarity of their technique and each other...but wait? What exactly are they doing? Sure van Heumen could offer countless diagrams of his joystick-meets-laptop method in the liner notes, and Ferguson's unique anti-guitar attack deserves an explanation, but the duo prefers to let their demanding "I can't do anything else but stare at the speakers while this is on" music draw up schematics, construct the diorama and tell the stories.

Dave Madden - The Squid’s Ear

[ more ]






Imagery

At ICMC 2011 in Huddersfield UK.





Or with a more roomy sound if you prefer that:









To top
Fade to black
To top | Fade to black