Robert van Heumen Composer Improvisor Laptop-Instrumentalist Sound-Designer
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January 26, 2013 - January 2013 Archives

Fridgesound Winter Sale

Most CDs on Fridgesound are available for Sub-Zero prices. Max Freeze Offer: all below (6 CDs) for €15 (NL), €17 (EU), €25 (World). This includes both SKIF++ albums, the ABATTOIR album critics have been raving about, Robert van Heumen's Stranger and Fury and the notorious Whistle Pig Saloon.

Other quantities
If you live in the Netherlands, 1 for €5, 2 for €7, 3 for €9, 4 for €11, 5 for €13, 6 for €15.
If you live in Europe, 1 for €5, 2 for €7, 3 for €10, 4 for €12, 5 for €15, 6 for €17.
For the rest of the world: 1 for €7, 2 for €10, 3 for €14, 4 for €19, 5 for €23, 6 for €25.

All prices including shipping. You can purchase by using Paypal and transfer the amount to robert(at)hardhatarea(dot)com. Please specify what you're paying for. Payments via Bank transfer are also possible. Email me for details.

January 23, 2013 - January 2013 Archives


MOROS is a composition for bass clarinet and contrabass clarinet, to be performed by the duo aggregate (Laura Carmichael and Oguz Buyukberber). Moros is the spirit of doom in Greek Mythology. The inspiration for the piece: Prometheus who caused mortals to cease forseeing their doom (Moros) by causing blind hopes to dwell within their breasts. It'll be the soundtrack for an imaginary SciFi film in 10 minutes.

The current status of the piece: a general idea of structure and sound, some notes, some electronic treatments of clarinet and voice. Today I have been working with Laura and Oguz on these ideas, talking about how to structure the piece, the possibilities of the instruments, and recording some sounds to use in the tape part of the work. Very exciting!

Another inspiration: the Alien Quadrology, John Carpenter's soundtracks for his own 70's films, Ennio Morricone's music for 70's films.

January 22, 2013 - January 2013 Archives

Shackle at the Splendor Parade

Yesterday, Shackle played a short set at the yearly Splendor Parade. For a full house in the Compagnietheater in Amsterdam. 500 mostly Splendor members went out there through cold and freezing snowy weather for a fabulous parade of great musicians. We had a great time on our little stage behind the grand piano.

Our first time in years performing without the Shackle System, our 'third member'. As the set was limited to 6 minutes, we figured we should be able to pull that off. And we did!

January 21, 2013 - January 2013 Archives


Coma is a composition for the band Spoon3, consisting of Jodi Gilbert (voice), Albert van Veenendaal (piano), Meinrad Kneer (acoustic bass) and myself on laptop-instrument. The idea was formed already in 2011, but never materialized. A strong bassline, a stumbling piano rhythm, an electronic treatment of this rhythm and a trance-like delivery of selected texts from the book The Coma by Alex Garland. The first version, presented to an audience at the Amsterdam Bimhuis, was a big learning experience for me. Everything was fully written out, full of irregular meters and odd jumps. Not taking into account that I was dealing with experienced improvisors who could be trusted with the task of creating a stumbling rhythm by themselves. Instead I let them read the whole thing, which made the piece very hard to perform after only 2 rehearsals, and which made it sound very much like a struggle. Luckily we realized this during the second rehearsal, and decided to have the piano create the rhythm as improvisation. This worked much better, but still the piece would have benifitted from a couple more rehearsals. Or even better: a couple of concerts in a row. Unfortunately it is not easy to find opportunities to perform with this group.

Lesson number one: when composing always write with the performers in mind. Or course you can push players out of their comfort zone a bit, but don't try to fit an elephant in your skipass pocket.

January 16, 2013 - January 2013 Archives

Shackle video 'Chuck' now online!

'Chuck’ is a track by Shackle accompanied by a video made by Maarten van Rossem.
You like this? Come see us at the Splendor Parade on Sunday January 20 in the Compagnietheater in Amsterdam.

January 5, 2013 - January 2013 Archives

'The First Law of Kipple' and 'Shackle Affair: Organ' premiere at Orgelpark

At the end of this year, two of my works will premiere at Orgelpark. Very exciting! More about these works in other posts, but below the announcement.

A virtuoso chain reaction in noise and sound Van Heumen, Dramm & Ferrari with Marco Blaauw, Dominik Blum and Shackle

Location: Orgelpark, Gerard Brandtstraat 26 Amsterdam Date/time: November 3, afternoon

Ferrari / Visages V part 1 & 2 (1959) 6:33
Dramm / new work for solo trumpet (2013) 3:00
Dramm / (chaincurve) (2006-7) 22:00

Van Heumen / The First Law of Kipple (2012, premiere) 21:05
Van Heumen / Shackle Affair: Organ (2013, premiere) 20:00

The First Law of Kipple (Robert van Heumen 2012, premier) (FLoK) is a composition for 4-channel tape and MIDI-controlled organ. ’FLoK’ is inspired by Gorecki’s Miserere and a library of processed recordings in various churches. It is about creating order in chaos and crunching melody into noise. ’FLoK’ is commissioned by Het Orgelpark in Amsterdam.

There’s the First Law of Kipple... ’Kipple drives out nonkipple.’...Kipple is useless objects, like junk mail or match folders after you use the last match or gum wrappers or yesterday’s homeopape. When nobody’s around, kipple reproduces itself. For instance, if you to go bed leaving any kipple around your apartment, when you wake up there is twice as much of it. It always gets more and more. No one can win against kipple, except temporarily and maybe in one spot. (Philip K. Dick)

Shackle Affair: Organ (Robert van Heumen 2013, premiere) is a composition for various organs, flute with electronics and laptop-instrument, performed by Dominik Blum and Shackle (Anne La Berge & Robert van Heumen). ’Shackle Affair: Organ’ is the next step in Shackle’s research project into restriction and structure in electro-acoustic improvisation. For this installment 10 new musical sections will be composed, each of which prescribes a way of playing the instruments or a limitation in sound material. During the concert these new sections will be presented to the players through the Shackle System. The players will have the option to cancel proposed sections or request new ones. ’Shackle Affair: Organ’ is developed with financial support from the Performing Arts Fund NL.

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