Robert van Heumen Composer Improvisor Laptop-Instrumentalist Sound-Designer
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February 28, 2008 - February 2008 Archives

Tokyo / third workshop day

Everyone is still hacking along during this third workshop day. Making their own circuitboards using simple circuits with photocells to generate squarewaves, controlling the pitch. And still hacking their toys, from machine guns to radios, Pokemon dolls and toyparrots (tiny live sampling machine).

In the meantime Taku has done an evening course with them, building their own sensorinterface. Some students worked until as late as 2AM last night, after a party they organized at the workshop space.

Nic started the day with some more theory on analog processing, and in a couple of minutes Frank will demo a way to use all this with JunXion and LiSa to control live sampling.

STEIM in Tokyo - Circuit board

STEIM in Tokyo - Circuit board

STEIM in Tokyo

STEIM in Tokyo

STEIM in Tokyo

February 27, 2008 - February 2008 Archives

Tokyo / second workshop day

So today it's hardware hacking with Nic Collins.

After hooking up a speaker to a 9 volt battery, they are now all emerged in their battery-operated radios. Opening them up, making connections that god never thought of, and the space is beautifully engulfed in a vibrant buzz of crackles. Since communication through the english language is not working that well, Nic choose to work by example: in silence showing everyone how to make and break connections. That's what makes the buzzing room even more interesting: there's little talking...

Speaker making:

Radio hacking:

Radio hacking (2):

STEIM in Tokyo - Speaker making

STEIM in Tokyo - Radio hacking

February 26, 2008 - February 2008 Archives

Tokyo / arrival & first workshop day

So I'm trying to force myself to write everyday about out activities with STEIM in Tokyo. Still pretty jetlagged, so my writing might not be so fluent...

With Frank Baldé, Taku Mizuta Lippit, Nic Collins and myself went to Tokyo for a STEIM tour. More details of the tour in the events section of, and the news section of

Yesterday we arrived in Tokyo, a first time for me. We stayed in Akihabara, the mekka for electronic components and gadgetry. It was quite overwhelming - endless streets of small shops stuffed with tiny toys, usb gadgets, computer stuff, games, games, games. It is very obvious that in Japan it is accepted to play computer- and consolegames. Unlike the Netherlands it is not something that you're only supposed to do when you're under 20.

Everything is arranged extremely well, by our hostess Ayako Fukunga, of the Naya collective. Also Tomomo Adachi should be thanked for all his efforts in helping us realizing this visit.

Today we moved to Hachioji Seminar House, located to the west of Tokyo, 1.30h drive by train & taxi. Here is where we'll do the workshops, and stay too. The seminar house is very much in the country, with hills and trees and such. Nice facilities (including heated toiletseat ;)) and friendly people (like all people in Japan I've met so far). We started in the cafetaria right after our arrival, for a lunch. Then a presentation by Taku on 'Interfacing the physical and the digital', followed by Frank demonstrating junXion with the Wii and talking about data mapping. After dinner (in the same cafetaria - nothing else around) I did my talk about 'Designing digital instruments'. As with Frank's talk, mine was also translated by Taku and our friendly workshop organizer Kboto-san. The participants didn't understand the english language wlll enough without that. This was quite a challenge, since the flow of your presentation is completely lost - it requires a different approach from the informal lectures we usually do. But according to Taku, who was able to read the students better, we did a good job in making them enthousiastic about our work.

Announcement by Kbota-san:

Now they are all soldering the PIC boards that Taku brought, and tomorrow Nic will do his workshop - having them create a simple cracklebox and a simple oscilator out of a speaker and battery.

STEIM in Tokyo - Hachioji Seminar House

STEIM in Tokyo

STEIM in Tokyo - Nic and Taku

STEIM in Tokyo - Taku in focus

Fury Review!

Today I received the Vital Weekly mailing with a review of Fury. Frans de Waard really likes it. Cool! He's also podcasting an excerpt:

'Fury' is the first real CD by Robert van Heumen, a name that may not ring an immediate bell (perhaps, who knows), but who is an active driving force in the Dutch improvised electronic music. He's active with such bands/collectives/projects as OfficeR, Skif++, RKS, Shackle and founding member of N Collective, if not organizing events for Steim in Amsterdam. His primary instrument is the laptop running software like LiSa (live sampling) and SuperCollider, sampling everyday sounds and making them sound like anything but everyday sounds. On his debut CD he has two pieces. The four part work 'Fury (After Anger)' and 'They Would Get Angry Sometimes'. The first uses texts about 'Dust Bowl migrants living in Farm Security Administration camps in central California (1940-1941). Many Americans fled the Great Plains looking for work and a better economical and ecological environment". The texts however do not play a big part in the composition. There is a bit of guitar like sound to be spotted (self-played? taken from the original recordings), and a bit of text, but throughout the title piece is a racket of noise tumbling through the bits and bytes of the computer - but beware it's not noise in the traditional sense of the word. It's dynamic, ever changing, crackling, loud and soft, buzzing and hissing. Even without being able to understand the text, which doesn't seem to be absolutely necessary, this is a very nice piece, shifting back and forth between abstract sound and more melodic passages. The second piece uses some similar sounds but is altogether a strict abstract piece of music of an even harsher quality type of noise. Vibrant music this is, great music - moving away from the delicate structures of microsound into the land of noise based textures. More Mego than micro. Great start!
Frans de Waard (Vital)

Vital Weekly is an e-mail magazine, which appears 48 times a year and has the latest cd-reviews and news on concerts and festivals. It was hosted by Staalplaat for ten years, but is now moved. To subscribe go here:

February 14, 2008 - February 2008 Archives

hatmail mailinglist

To make sending mailings a little easier for me, I created a mailinglist. You can subscribe here:

If you receive an email through the mailinglist, and you'd like to be removed, please goto to unsubscribe. I apologize for any inconveniences.

February 4, 2008 - February 2008 Archives


I'm currently in EMS's studio 4. EMS director Mats Lindström was very kind in enabling my stay here at EMS (Institute for Electroacoustic Music in Sweden). I will be here one week, starting up the work on Vreemdeling. The work can be monitored at the vreemdeling blog.

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