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Robert van Heumen Composer Improvisor Laptop-Instrumentalist

Next event on September 13, 2014: Sonata for 10 pedals (for harp, Disklavier and live electronics) by Lucas Wiegerink and Robert van Heumen / Dutch premiere

May 31, 2014

A Short Piece of Decay | video

May 28, 2014

MOROS, the continuing saga

After having put the work aside for almost a year, I started working on MOROS again this spring. As opposed as what I wrote in my last post on MOROS, I got into the 3rd generation of the family tree before I called it a day. Over 200 samples, most of them between 30 sec and 1 minute long. Putting this together with the notated material was a joy, and the piece seems in its final stage now. The premiere is not before December 2014, I'll start working on it with Oguz and Laura somewhere late fall, and then we'll see how it really works out. Because MIDI-instruments only get you so far.

O, and I will also put this into my Score System, a SuperCollider program that I'm developing to be able to have cues for players to trigger electronic events that more or less then run on their own.

In a way this piece was forshadowed during the Shackle tour in April, as I've started using some of the samples from the family tree in my live set. I like this: quoting yourself, disregarding time.

Sonate for 11 pedals & the Score System

Together with Lucas Wiegerink I'm working on a composition for Disklavier, harp and live electronics. Lucas came up with the concept and will write the notes. Together we will work on the live electronics, and I will implement that in SuperCollider. An exciting project!

Lucas has sent me the first version of the score, and I've started to put this into my Score System in SuperCollider. I've created this system (which is still under development) to be able to sync acoustic music with electronic actions. A typical Score instance contains a list of cues that are indicated in the score of the musician to be triggered at a certain moment. When triggered, a cue runs on its own. Every cue is a timeline on which events can be scheduled. An event can be: play a soundfile from harddisk, record a live action by a musician, play back that sample, play back a certain MIDI file (to the Disklavier in this case), etc.

Below is a preview of how it might look (click on the image for a bigger version).

I will also use this Score System in my composition A Short Piece of Decay, for the Black Pencil ensemble.

May 26, 2014

A Short Piece of Decay

I'm currently busy finalizing a composition for the ensemble Black Pencil. It's a piece for panflute, blockflute, percussion, viola, accordion, soundtrack and live processing. To be premiered on July 6 2014 in Lingen, Germany. Here's the official blurp.

'A Short Piece of Decay' is about the process of cooking a dish from basic ingredients that is subsequently being devoured.

"How does the living organism avoid decay? The obvious answer is: by eating, drinking, breathing and (in the case of plants) assimilating. The technical term is metabolism. What is that precious something contained in our food which keeps us from death? That is easily answered. Every process, event, happening (call it what you will; in a word, everything that is going on in Nature) means an increase of the entropy of the part of the world where it is going on. Thus a living organism continually increases its entropy (or, as you may say, produces positive entropy) and thus tends to approach the dangerous state of maximum entropy, which is of death. It can only keep aloof from it (i.e. alive), by continually drawing from its environment negative entropy -which is something very positive as we shall immediately see. What an organism feeds upon is negative entropy. Or, to put it less paradoxically, the essential thing in metabolism is that the organism succeeds in freeing itself from all the entropy it cannot help producing while alive." From 'What is life?' (1944) by Erwin Schrödinger

'A Short Piece of Decay' is a continuation of a train of thought that has also produced the compositions 'The First Law of Kipple' (2012) and 'Stranger' (2008). Composition by decomposition.
Further reading: 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' by Robert M. Pirsig and 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep' by Philip K. Dick.

Commissioned by the Black Pencil ensemble and written under a composition stipend from the Performing Arts Fund NL.

May 13, 2014

Shackle in Huddersfield

Shackle was at Huddersfield University to teach their Converging Objects workshop and to perform a concert. We had a fabulous time. The workshop went really well, great students, very open-minded, great players! We performed a concert with them and closed the event with a Shackle set. Thanks to Phil, Eleanor, Elias and Stephen for the work!

(Photo by Julio d'Escrivan)

April 21, 2014

Shackle Tour US 2014

Shackle had a great tour on the US west coast this month. If you weren't there, you can hear excerpts on Shackle's website or on Soundcloud.

April 9, 2014

Shackle in San Francisco

shackle ncnw sf shackle ncnw sf2

Shackle performed with the fantastic Alex Christie in downtown San Francisco. Thanks to the friendly people from the Center for New Music for making this possible.

140405 001 Center for New Music SF

140405 002 Center for New Music SF

April 4, 2014

Shackle is on the road!

Shackle started her 2014 US West Coast Tour yesterday with classes and a concert at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs. Fabulous place, great people. SNOW!


February 10, 2014

Shackle Bits

Shackle’s new project is to extend the Shackle System into the visual domain by using silent film bits as a compositional component. We’re building a list of questions that include how we will synchronize the film bits with our music and our cueing system, what will take precedence: music or film, and what is the optimal size of the projections on the screen. We’ll keep you posted!


February 4, 2014

The Holding

An installation by Margret Wibmer for which I designed the sound and build the technology. Using STEIM's BigEye to track visitors in the space. 2006. Cameo by the composer at 1:30.

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