Robert van Heumen Composer Improvisor Laptop-Instrumentalist Sound-Designer
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Finally some time to catch up on things. After a great coast to coast trip in the US I was sucked into work very soon. Of course things at STEIM, how to continue with the funding (partly) secured. More about that later (maybe). But first a report on the International Computer Music Conference 2008, in Belfast from Aug 24-29.

ICMC08 report

The International Computer Music Conference took place in Belfast this year, at Queens University, also using SARC's diffusion system.
The conference was integrated with the Sonorities festival, which resulted in an enormous amount of concerts, concurrently with paper presentations, demo's and panels. This made it sometimes difficult to choose, and to my opinion some parts of the conference/festival suffered from that.

Every day there were paper presentations in the morning, in two spaces at the same time, and in the afternoon demo's were given, and posters presented. Due to the nature of the conference these papers were generally quite theoretical and specific. An interesting one that comes to mind was a presentation by Trond Lossius from BEK (Norway) about Jamoma ( According to the website: Jamoma provides a clear structure and common features for building max patches. Reducing the amount of time needed to create new performance systems, and enhancing the interchange of patches amongst max users. Basically a way to control groups of parameters simultaniously.

The lunchbreak was dedicated to two sessions of concerts with electronic compositions taking place in SARC - one at 12:15 and one at 13:45. Because of the relatively small number of seats in SARC participants could only attend one of the two concerts per day. These concerts were generally quite interesting - although most pieces didn't really use the elaborate diffusion system in an effective way. Some memorable pieces:
* Butch Rovan / Correspondences: audio-visual work after Beaudelaire's Correspondances - very instrumental and lots of movement
* Carmen Caruso / Mayday: cinema-for-the-ear - beautiful sound collage
* Rikhardur H. Fridriksson / Postcards from North and South: good use of the diffusion system, beautiful sounds
* Benjamin Broening / Lamentation Alphabet: Aleph

Almost every day at night there were two concerts: an early one with mainly compositions for ensemble of soloists with electronics, and a late night concert with a bit more focus on longer sessions with more improvisation. These concerts were less interesting in general than the lunch concerts - most pieces were quite conceptual and sometimes more about technology than music. Some interesting ones:
* Scott McLaughlin / Whitewater for sax & computer: good blend of acoustic and electronic sound - good balance, neither one was dominant or leading
* Juhani Raisanen / Cringle: one of the few real electronic instruments, performed with mastery

Then there were the continous presentations in the Grand Hall: a total of three hours of tape works, repeated 3 times. Every day a block of new works. This part of the program suffered a lot from a lack of attention, as it wasn't announced very clearly, and obviously a lot of things were happening at the same time. Some memorable works:
* Martin Bedard / Check-point: interesting sounds, although the piece was too long
* Gilles Gobeil / Ombres, espaces, silences: interesting combinations of sounds, movement, drama - too long though
* Robert van Heumen / Fury: of course I can't not mention my own participation - it was good hearing it a couple of times, and I can already hear some improvements...

All in all a good conference. Lots of opportunities to meet people, and lots of music. Next year in Canada, McGill University.