Robert van Heumen Composer Improvisor Laptop-Instrumentalist Sound-Designer
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Back at ranch.

That was a GREAT tour, Shackle performing and teaching workshops in New Zealand, Australia, Brazil. You can read all about it on, so I won't repeat. But it was wonderful.

Now back to real life. That's hard. Starting everything up that I've neglected the last 5 weeks. Pushing things forward, taking initiative, instead of the automatic flow during a tour and the excuse of not paying attention to all those things far away.

One thing I realized during the Shackle tour is that I really need it: to make music in the moment with real people. So last few weeks I've been working on creating more opportunities for myself to perform (local) concerts. This week I play twice in Amsterdam, on Wednesday joining Michael Fischer's Instant Composing Conducting at the Maarten Luther Kerk and on Friday opening up for Bandwidth featuring Gerri Jäger in Delicatessen. Coming up are Shackle gigs in Brussels and London, a concert with Albert van Veenendaal in Museum de Pont and an impro gig with Jodi Gilbert and Wilbert de Joode in Zaal100. Check the events page for details.

Last week I've been rehearsing with Albert for our concert in de Pont, using the prepared piano and live sampling. It'll be improvised, but we are working on subtle ways of adding some structure. Great to work on bridging the gap between abstract electronics and melodic/rhythmic material. Albert is a great guy to do this with. He has all the traditional chops, but is also very open to just work with sound.

In the sense of sitting-behind-a-table-and-moving-sound-blocks I'm currently working on the First Law of Kipple, a composition for Organ and 4-channel tape, commissioned by the Orgelpark. The premiere is still far away (November 2013) but the work on this has been stretched out too much already, I need to at least make a version that works for now. Then planning to put it away and revise it next summer. It will be great though, working with the Sauer Organ at Orgelpark, using it's remote control (a beautiful in-style full-fledged organ console). In the process I'm finding out exciting new ways to work with pre-recorded organ material, that will no doubt feed into live performances too.

Another future project I'm already thinking about is a piece for Jorge Isaac on recorders. I went to a concert by his group Black Pencil during the Blockflute festival last weekend, and it was great! I especially enjoyed his performance of Berio's Gesti, which was followed by a beautiful presentation by Walter van Hauwe of a couple of short pieces by Jacob van Eyck. Absolutely wonderful. I realized that for my composition for Jorge I should focus on the sound of the recorder, there is so much to explore.

Aside from the musical output, I need to work on organising my composition stipend which I was awarded by the Performing Arts Fund NL. The plan is there, and there are great musicians involved. But I need to find venues to perform the pieces, and organize finances.

O, and last but not least I should admit what some people already know: I'm not using STEIM's LiSa anymore… After 10 years of a great collaboration with her, I needed to move on, and built my new performance setup in SuperCollider. This took over a year, and I spend hours and hours of coding, debugging, cursing, to get SuperCollider to do what came so easily with LiSa. But I managed, it sounds great, I have more flexibility now. Flexibility comes with a cost though: the temptation to do what I'm telling everyone at workshops not to do: keep changing your setup to add all these neat little extra's, and lose touch with the patch as instrument. So I need discipline! And also: I decided to build my LiSa setup quite literally into a SuperCollider patch, so I didn't have to lose my comfortable feel with my instrument. In a way the paradigm I'm using is very much LiSa, so it feels less like betrayal ;)

OK. Stop rambling, start making music. Bye.