Robert van Heumen Composer Improvisor Laptop-Instrumentalist Sound-Designer
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April 20, 2007 - April 2007 Archives

Rhode Island

I'm currently in Providence, Rhode Island, USA. Giving a talk about STEIM (today) and a concert (solo and with Butch Rovan / Joel Ryan / Kevin Patton - tomorrow).

I find my relationship with this country rather interesting. Everytime I'm about to go there, I don't really feel like going - for a big part of course due to the political 'situation' (also see the countdown for the days left in office for the current 'president' in an earlier post). But when I get there, and it doesn't seem to matter which part, I feel very comfortable, almost like home. Is it just melancholy, just some kind of longing to go back to a moment in the past that felt really good, or is it really the culture that attracts me?

It is true that that rush I felt when arriving here 8 years ago for a stay of 2 years, the thrill of moving to a completely unknown place, this adventure, is something I feel I go back to whenever I eat a bagel with peanutbutter & jelly, or when I talk to complete strangers and they are very friendly but you don't really know what is real about that, or I smell those familiar smells, that I want to move back here. But something tells me it's not only rememberance. It is something in this culture that I really like, and I can't put my finger on it... Yet.


April 16, 2007 - April 2007 Archives

Tonic in memoriam - or revived?

Tonic, New York City's most wellknown venue for experimental music, is kicked out of their space in the Lower East Side in NYC. From their website:

After more than 9 years as a home for avant-garde, creative, and experimental music, Tonic will reluctantly close its doors on Friday, April 13th, 2007. We simply can no longer afford the rent and all of the other costs associated with doing business on the Lower East Side. The neighborhood around us has been increasingly consumed by "luxury condominiums", boutique hotels and glass towers, all making the value of our salvaged space worth more then our business could ever realistically support. We have also been repeatedly harassed by the city's Quality of Life Task Force which resulted in the debilitating closing of the ))sub((tonic lounge in January. Coincidentally, this campaign began as our immediate neighbor, the Blue Condominium building - a symbol of the new Lower East Side - prepared to open its doors.

This makes me very sad - mainly of course since, as difficult it was getting a gig there, it was a place you could always go and see interesting music. But another reason is that Tonic for me represents my move from computer programmer to electronic composer/musician. When I moved to Jersey City (the much underappreciated, but very close neighbour of Manhattan) I witnessed a lot of the concerts during Tonic's first two years of existence.

It was Tonic where I saw Dave Douglas making music with a trumpet the way it was NOT ment to. It was Tonic where I was present at Painkiller's last concert. It was Tonic with the 3-days-in-a-row-two-sets-a-night Masada concerts (where actually my parents went twice - without ever being really into experimental music!).
And it was also (sub)Tonic where I did my first NYC concert.

There are still talks, there are still meetings, of very brave people (like Rebecca Moore and Marc Ribot) who try to convince the city of NYC to keep Tonic for the arts, or at least to give the experimental music scene a decent venue. On the Take it to the Bridge website you can sign the petition and read about the demonstration that went on last Saturday.

April 2, 2007 - April 2007 Archives


Absolute favorite CD's at the moment: Nabukaza Takemura's Scope - digital skipping instead of turntablism - lyrical, funny, dreamy, long pieces, no: compositions ;)
And Soaked by Jacob Kierkegaard & Philip Jeck - the introvert quiet of Kierkegaard but with the analog edge of Jeck.
Listening at mp3 versions at the moment, but these records definitely deserve to be bought...

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