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Robert van Heumen Composer Improvisor Laptop-Instrumentalist

Next event on May 8, 2015: Concert: Money For Your Whale Presents

April 23, 2015


The track Funeral Freeze (based upon a process I developed for MDFreeze) appears on the Nachtstück label compilation Nachtmuziek.

Steenklank 2015

Spring is in the air. Soundtrackcity is continuing their organised Steenklank walks. Experience architecture in sound!

April 21, 2015

Studium Generale at the Art Academy Utrecht

Marcel Wierckx and I 'battled' for sound space during this lecture in the Studium Generale series at the HKU, the art academy of Utrecht, NL. With a room full of students never been exposed to such stuff this gave rise to interesting questions and discussions. Watch the full thing or and excerpt.

March 28, 2015

Shackle Affair with Bassoons and more

Two American duos will be stopped by Amsterdam and were Shackle guests for a workshop at the Conservatory of Amsterdam and for an evening of composed and improvised music at Splendor Amsterdam.

It was a day of of sonic sophistication that ranged from sheer rawness to sublime beauty.

And lots of bassoon with and without electronics!

The duos were:
Of an implacable subtraction
with bassoonist/composer Dana Jessen and composer/performer Paula Mathussen
Architeuthis Walks on Land
with bassoonist/composer Katherine Young and violist/improviser Amy Cimini



March 21, 2015

Göteborg with Jodi Gilbert

Together with vocalist Jodi Gilbert I spend last week in Göteborg Sweden, for two concerts, a lecture and a workshop.

The first concert was in a lovely little coffee place called Viktors Kaffe. With an audience of 20 the space was packed. The other concert was a Brötz Club, a beatiful space on a hill. After a duo by Jodi and myself we played a set with our hosts Michele Collins and Jonny Wartel and special guests Lina Nyberg and John Holmström. A fabulous evening!

The lecture and workshop took place at the Academy of Music and Drama at the University of Göteborg. A small group of articulated composers under the hood of Per Anders Nilsson versus a big group of musical improvisors guided by Thomas Jäderlund. A great experience!

February 13, 2015

Shackle at ‘a special evening at the Kunstenlab’

Shackle performed a concert at the Kunstenlab in Deventer, NL. Invited by Harco Rutgers from esc.rec. Shackle played a 50-minute set presenting their Shackle Bits project.


Martijn Holtslag from VPRO's 3voor12 also liked it (in Dutch, translation following soon):

"Een verrassende en spannende reis, waarbij twee muzikanten in opperste concentratie aan het werk zijn om de gemaakte signalen te verwerken tot een klankreis die even zacht als snoeihard durft te zijn. Alsof dat niet spannend genoeg is om te zien, of te horen, worden er korte, stille fragmenten uit oude jaren 20-50 films weergegeven, die net te vaag zijn om te snappen waar het over gaat, maar visueel een prachtige aanvulling geven aan de sfeer. Hierbij zijn niet de beelden maar is het klankbeeld lijdend.

Niet voor de meezingers, niet voor de cafésfeer, niet voor een gezellig avondje bandjes kijken, maar wel een prachtige reis waarbij je even tijd nodig hebt om te verwerken wat je eigenlijk hebt meegemaakt en waarbij de klanken even experimenteel zijn als de uitvoering. Kortom: een bijzondere avond in het Kunstenlab."

The full review can be found here (in Dutch).


The beautiful photos were made by Jelmer Gremmen.

February 5, 2015

The second rehearsal for Detuning Guitar

Yesterday Jasper and I had our second rehearsal of our piece Detuning Guitar, after a great concert the previous week. We spend some time on the various sections, made some changes and did one runthrough. Below some excerpts.

Listen here: STUMBLE

Listen here: VIBRA2

Listen here: FLAG3

January 30, 2015

Stadhouders & Van Heumen @ Club100

After one rehearsal for the new piece Detuning Guitar for Jasper and myself, we had an opportunity to play together during a Club100 evening at Zaal100. We were closing a very interesting and eclectic music evening, curated by Akim Moiseenkov, and we were on a roll. Very promising for Detuning Guitar, that should find its premiere somewhere in April, also in Zaal100.

Detuning Guitar

Detuning Guitar is a composition for acoustic guitar and live sampling, performed by Jasper Stadhouders and Robert van Heumen using the Shackle System.

The composition encompasses 13 parts which are descriptions of musical sections that limit the players in concept or material. Within these limitations the players can freely improvise the way they see fit. The parts are presented by the Shackle System as visual cues in a random order and last for a random time between the preset boundaries. When the System announces a new part, there is a 15 second countdown in which the players can prepare for the new part or cancel it using a foot-switch. At any time, each player can request a new part from the System with the same foot-switch. After 25 minutes, the System announces the end.

Some parts prescribe a detuning of one of the guitar strings, and one part prescribes a retuning to the initial tuning. Some parts are accompanied by a brief score. The names of the parts are: PATTERN, STUMBLE, SLOGRO, FASGRO, RIPP, RATTLE, SCRATCH, SLIDE, VIBRA, BOLT, JML, FLAG, FUNERAL.

Below is an excerpt from the first rehearsal where we perform PATTERN and RATTLE.

Shackle Bits

A futuristic city scene from Fritz Lang's 1927 film, Metropolis

With their latest project Shackle Bits, Shackle is including silent film excerpts in their performances as yet another ingredient for improvisation. The excerpts are controlled from the Shackle System and switch most of the time in sync with the musical sections but every now and then have a life of their own. As improvisors we are then faced with the question what will take precedence: sound or image.

Below are some examples of live situations.

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Here is a top-10 list of silent movies. See if you agree.

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