Robert van Heumen Composer Improvisor Laptop-Instrumentalist Sound-Designer
Listen to Songs of Love (and Decay)
Robert van Heumen: composer and improvising musician on laptop-instrument
Robert van Heumen is a composer and improvising musician using an extended laptop-instrument to perform highly immersive and hyper-dynamic electro-acoustic music. As a musician, live sampling is his main tool. With a joystick and other tactile controllers, live sampled source sounds are gesturally manipulated and reworked within open ended narratives. Van Heumen is continously researching new strategies for live sampling and looking for the perfect balance between free improvisation and structured music. The laptop is used in an instrumental, tactile way, connecting action to sound like any acoustic instrument. He develops his work with realtime audio-synthesis software SuperCollider
inspired by STEIM
Recent electro-acoustic works include the song-cycle Songs of Love (and Decay)
and compositions KP6-3.7
. Songs of Love
is a collection of songs performed by Evelien van den Broek, based on a series of personal texts about love in a decaying world. KP6-3.7
is a composition for Utopa, the digitally-enhanced Baroque Organ at Orgelpark
. The music of KP6-3.7 is a process, a journey and a continuation of the ideas developed for the piece First Law of Kipple
. Using existing material from different media, morphing it unrecognizable, Van Heumen pays homage to his inspirations while creating something entirely new. Automatic
is a set of short pieces for The Busy Drone, Orgelpark's Dance Organ. Focussing on the percussive instruments in the organ and utilizing non-standard techniques to generate sound from the instrument. Point-to-Line
is a series of works: at first Point-to-Line
is an installation for color projections and synthesis. Secondly PointCode
is a performative version including both automatic organ and human-performed organ. SPILL
is a composition for harp and live electronics as a musical response to fossil fuel disasters that often go unnoticed by the general public. The processed harp is sometimes cold as ice, sometimes hot as giant flames that can be seen from 20 miles away; she cries, screams, explodes, gulps and rumbles. Other works include the GeluidjesFabriek
(SoundlingsFactory), an sound factory using the original sounds of a certain place to produce new sound objects, and Steenklank (Sound of Brick)
, a soundwalk on architecture in collaboration with Anne Rooschüz, commissioned by Soundtrackcity. Van Heumen was awarded a composition stipend from the Performing Arts Fund NL
system, an information system for local governments build by MyBit
Van Heumen documents his performances as well as his composed work on labels like Creative Sources Recordings, Evil Rabbit Records and Fridgesound. He is regularly teaching workshops on live electronics and structured improvisation, both in the Netherlands and internationally. He teaches the SuperCollider software at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. Van Heumen worked for 10 years at the Studio for Electo-Instrumental Music (STEIM)
in Amsterdam as project manager, curator of the Local Stop concert series and member of the artistic committee. In the theater he worked with director Dirk Groeneveld, writer Simone de Jong and choreographer Anouk van Dijk. In a previous life he was a trumpet player, mathematician and software programmer. Van Heumen is inspired by mathematicians L.E.J. Brouwer
and Kurt Gödel, writers Albert Camus and Philip K. Dick, composers GM König and John Carpenter and bands Pye Corner Audio and Boards of Canada.
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"The music of Shackle is truely strong and varied. There are fast, raw passages and also very subdued parts where something new can be heard every time you listen. The power of the duo is that they evoke curiosity without becoming overly abstract."
Jan Nieuwenhuis (Gonzo (circus)) on the Shackle Stick
"Digital brutalism in free form, vehement expressions, heightened efforts, wailings and atonal lamentations are all performed with uninterrupted breathing techniques - the electronic manipulation is relentless, full of powerful distortions, melancholic melodies and experimental combinations. Authentic, intricate compositions [...]."
Aurelio Cianciotta (Neural.it) on ABATTOIR
"[...] Stranger in any case represents an intriguing chapter in the output of a hardly pigeon-hole-able emerging sound artist. There's more than meets the ears, though it takes persistence to find the combination needed to enter this obscure area, halfway through the remnants of excruciating memories and the blurred idea of an uncertain future."
Massimo Ricci (The Squid's Ear) on Stranger
"The trio deliver lively and unpredictable digital high-energy bursts by working in a very dynamic and inter-active environment, where one’s merest gesture or thought is transformed instantly into powerful sweeps of crackly texturised beltage. Fine work which transcends many of the clichés and pitfalls of laptop music."
Massimo Ricci (Paris Atlantic) on SKIF++'s CD .next
"... the whole set is sensuous fun as well as intellectually stretching."
Brian Morton (The Wire) on Whistle Pig Saloon
"... dynamic, ever changing, crackling, loud and soft, buzzing and hissing. Vibrant music this is, great music, moving away from the delicate structures of microsound into the land of noise based textures."
Frans de Waard (Vital Weekly) on Fury
"This is musique concrete that has torn away from its formal, academic origins. Deconstruction and reassembly in nasty extremis."
David Stubbs (The Wire) on SKIF++'s CD SK++ [01,02,03,04,00]
"Office-R(6) literally sculpt rather than play the music using acoustic instruments and computers yeilding a music that is subtly seismic and eminently contemporary."
Musicreaction on OfficeR's CD Recording the Grain
- Told to Succomb, a live coded solo set (premiere October 12, 2019, Algorave NLCL at Zaal 100 Amsterdam)
- KP6-3.7, for digitally enhanced Baroque organ, monophonic analog synth and live electronics (premiere March 24, 2017, Orgelpark Amsterdam)
- Songs of Love (and Decay), a song-cycle for voice and electronics performed by Evelien van den Broek (released on October 17, 2017, Bandcamp)
- Automatic, 4 short pieces for The Busy Drone, Orgelpark's' Dance Organ: 78selected (2’), Chinwag (3’), Ringo (4’) and Automatic (2’) (premiere October 7, 2017, Orgelpark Amsterdam)
- Point-to-Organ, a performative version of Point-to-Line, with the composer at the controls and Michael Bonaventure playing the Verschueren organ (premiere October 7, 2017, Orgelpark Amsterdam)
- PointCode, an online version of the audiovisual installation/composition Point-to-Line
- Point-to-Line, an audiovisual installation/composition, developed with financial support from the Performing Arts Fund NL (premiere January 19, 2017, Museum De Pont Tilburg)
- Curves, a structured improvisation set by Shackle and Männer mit Motoren, developed with financial support from the Performing Arts Fund NL (premiere October 31, 2016, Stadgarten Cologne, tour in Chili November 2017)
- Parish of Tama, a composition for cement mixer, clarinet, electric bass, drums and laptop-instrument composed with financial support from the Performing Arts Fund NL (premiere November 2, 2016, De Ruimte Amsterdam)
- SPILL, a composition for harp and live electronics, developed in collaboration with Miriam Overlach, composed with financial support from the Performing Arts Fund NL (premiere October 18, 2015, City Museum Den Bosch)
- Sacred Noise, a composition for church organ and laptop-instrument, composed with financial support from the Orgelpark (premiere November 28, 2015, Orgelpark Amsterdam)
- Untitled For Anne, a composition for flute and live electronics, developed in collaboration with Anne La Berge, composed with financial support from the Performing Arts Fund NL (premiere November 28, 2015, Orgelpark Amsterdam)
- Sunday Rhino, a composition for church organ, voice, cello and laptop-instrument, composed for the Orgelpark Symposium 2015 (premiere June 5, 2015)
- Moving On Second, an algorithmic composition for Sauer Organ and SuperCollider (premiere June 3, 2015, Orgelpark, Amsterdam)
- Detuning Guitar, a composition for acoustic guitar and live sampling, developed by Robert van Heumen and Jasper Stadhouders, performed using the Shackle System, composed with financial support from the Performing Arts Fund NL(premiere May 8, 2015, Zaal 100, Amsterdam)
- Sweet Summer Holidays in France, with Semay Wu (cello) & Robert van Heumen (laptop-instrument), performed at STEIM on March 26 2015
- GeluidjesFabriek ZAAG55, a location-specific installation in the former Bolnes Motor Factory Zaag 55, Krimpen aan de Lek, The Netherlands (premiere September 14, 2014)
- MOROS, a Sci-Fi film in sound for bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet and live electronics, performed by Laura Carmichael and Oğuz Büyükberber, composed with financial support from the Performing Arts Fund NL (premiere December 14, 2014 at Splendor Amsterdam in the SlowHZ program)
- A Short Piece of Decay, a composition for block flute, pan flute, viola, accordion, percussion and live electronics, commissioned by the Black Pencil ensemble (premiere July 6, 2014, Summerwinds festival in Lingen DE)
- Sonata for 10 pedals, a composition for harp, Disklavier and live electronics (composition Lucas Wiegerink, sound design Robert van Heumen, premiere Aug 14, 2014, Darmstadt DE)
- Steenklank, a soundwalk commissioned by Soundtrackcity (premiere Nov 15, 2013, De Nieuwe Pijp Amsterdam)
- Tubes in Chains, a composition for various organs, flute with electronics and laptop-instrument (premiere Nov 3, 2013, Orgelpark Amsterdam)
- First Law of Kipple, a composition for 4 channel sound and MIDI-controlled organ, commissioned by Orgelpark (premiere Nov 3, 2013, Orgelpark Amsterdam)
- MDFreeze, an algorithmic composition for 8 channels, commissioned by Call & Response (premiere Aug 17, 2013, Tonspur Vienna)
- Night Call, a structured improvisation composition commissioned by the band IstanPOOL (premiere Oct 3, 2013, Rasa Utrecht)
- Twelve-Twelve-Twelve by Money For Your Whale, published in three installments as an object combined with download (2013)
- The Sound of the Machine, a composition for Disklavier and computer, commissioned by the Conlon Foundation (premiere Sept 8, 2011, Gaudeamus Muziekweek)
- Like Harry, a theatrical soundwalk in collaboration with Simone de Jong (premiere Sept 11, 2011, Gaudeamus Muziekweek)
- Soundtracks for stop-motion videos fibonacci scroll, Fashion Week and Fibonacci Flower by Susan Happersett (2010/2011)
- No Man's Land, a radioplay commissioned by the CEM studio at WORM Rotterdam (premiere Dec 6, 2008, Dutch radio)
- Stranger [ more ], an electronic composition (premiere multichannel version June 13, 2008, Culturelab Newcastle UK)
- Silent, a set of short pieces based upon a specific synthesis process used by James Tenney (2007)
- Fury (after anger), a 4-channel composition commisioned by the Sonic Circuits festival in Washington DC (premiere Oct 7, 2006)
- Solitude, an audiovisual production with Arnoud Noordegraaf (video) (premiere at the November Music Festival (Den Bosch NL, Gent BE 2005)
- Compositions for choreographies am i out? (2000), Alien (2001), Diva (2002), Amour Fou (2003), Drink me (2004), STAU (2004), Derivatives (2005) by Anouk van Dijk
For CD's and releases in other formats, go to the Releases
Sound Design overview page
- Sanoma Technology Video Trailer, created in collaboration with the Rick Angenent Studio for Sanoma Technology.
- 'encounters with nature' (2016), a soundscape for an installation/performance by Margret Wibmer
- Big Green Egg (2016), a soundscape intermingled with interviews
- Eurapco Board Symposium (2015), a soundscape, music for promotional videos, live performance for Eurapco Board Symposium Paris
- Marktplaats Zakelijk (2015), a soundscape for the Marktplaats Zakelijk Lounge at Spin Awards
- Sol Independence Day (2013), a soundscape for the Heineken/Sol Independence Day at Forteiland IJmuiden
- Curves: a collaboration between Shackle and Männer mit Motoren | Chili Tour in November 2017
- Line Management: WEST28 meets MuizMans Collective in October 2017 - Robert van Heumen in collaboration with Michael Bonaventure, René Baptist Huysmans and Luiz Henrique Yudo
- To Whom This Power: a theatrical concert for organ, flute, harp, laptop-instrument and narration, in collaboration with composer-performers Anne La Berge, Jacob Lekkerkerker and Miriam Overlach, sound poet Sieger Baljon and director Nienke Rooijakkers
- Money For Your Whale with Albert van Veenendaal on prepared piano: "Carefully selected preparations along with live sampling techniques twist, transpose and transform the commonplace instrument, and lead us through a constantly evolving exploration of various auditory realms."
- Shackle [ more ] with Anne La Berge on flute and electronics: "The power of the duo is that they evoke curiosity without becoming overly abstract."
- ABATTOIR with Audrey Chen on cello and vocals: "Digital brutalism in free form, vehement expressions, heightened efforts, wailings and atonal lamentations..."
- Spoon3 with Jodi Gilbert on vocals, Albert van Veenendaal on piano and Meinrad Kneer on acoustic bass: "It’s impeccable music, in which textual experiments play a key role..."
- SKIF++ with Bas van Koolwijk on interactive video and Jeff Carey on laptop: "...the trio deliver lively and unpredictable digital high-energy bursts by working in a very dynamic and inter-active environment, where one’s merest gesture or thought is transformed instantly into powerful sweeps of crackly texturised beltage."
- Whistle Pig Saloon with guitarist John Ferguson: "... 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."
- OfficeR electro-acoustic sextet: "Contrapuntal layering of all these effects provides Office-R (6) with distinctiveness - an ever-shifting interface that negates minimalist austerity while clasping on to its hypnotic effects."
The audio-visual installation Point-to-Line
, January 2017
Note: due to the screen-capture process the video quality is lower than in real live.
with Shackle and Männer mit Motoren, October 30 2016
Chuck by Shackle
for harp and live electronics, performed by Miriam Overlach at Splendor on March 27, 2016
Untitled For Anne
for flute and live electronics, performed by Anne La Berge at Orgelpark on November 28, 2015
The sound-walk Steenklank
The Full Spectrum concert at STEIM with Felipe Ignacio Noriega, Yung-Tuan Ku, Robert van Heumen, March 31 2016
Money for your Whale by Money For Your Whale
for organ and laptop-instrument, performed by Jacob Lekkerkerker and Robert van Heumen at Orgelpark on November 28, 2015
at STEIM CONCERT: Electronic Music Lab, May 8 2010, Japan Society, NYC USA
Sound of the Machine
at the OIRADIO sessions Sao Paulo Brazil, October 1 2012
Whistle Pig Saloon
at ICMC 2011 Huddersfield UK
More videos at Vimeo