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Review Local Stop concert with Audrey Chen / Robert van Heumen

A review by Keir Neuringer (from STEIM's Concert blog) of the Audrey Chen / Robert van Heumen duo at STEIM's Local Stop concert on May 22, 2008:

[...] Robert van Heumen and Audrey Chen followed. They have performed together in various combinations before in Amsterdam and Chen’s home city of Baltimore, but this was their first duo. Chen played ‘cello with more finesse than I have seen her do before. When I have seen her in the past she has employed the ‘cello and electronics mainly as drone instruments, with her often primal vocalizations leading the performance. Tonight her voice fed hungrily and playfully off her capricious ‘cello playing. Devoted to not holding back when she performs, it was a pleasure to see her working so hard to match van Heumen’s often brutal digital transformations of her sound. There were several moments of pure psychedelia as van Heumen allowed untransposed, ungranulated repetitions of Chen’s voice to come through—often considered dangerous territory in some circles but used here in good taste. Van Heumen tends to play forcefully and loudly, and tonight was no exception. However, I noted positively that his choices seemed to be more calculated and considered than usual, with less attention given to his joystick controller and more focus on subtle actions and longer-term transformations. I loved it when, halfway through the second of two extended pieces, he took Chen’s keening voice and filtered it in such a way that, for a moment, it seemed that George Martin, the revered Beatles producer, had entered the room.