Robert van Heumen Composer Improvisor Laptop-Instrumentalist Sound-Designer
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April 25, 2013 - April 2013 Archives


Another project I've been working on the last year or so, intermittently. GeluidsjesFabriek or LittleSoundsFactory. Dedicated to a good friend of mine, who passed away two years ago and always used this term to describe my work. It will be what in academic terms would be called an algorithmic composition: "Algorithmic composition is the technique of using algorithms to create music. Algorithms (or, at the very least, formal sets of rules) have been used to compose music for centuries; the procedures used to plot voice-leading in Western counterpoint, for example, can often be reduced to algorithmic determinacy. The term is usually reserved, however, for the use of formal procedures to make music without human intervention, either through the introduction of chance procedures or the use of computers." (Wikipedia)

In this case I will create a structure in time of sample processing, specifying things like 'play 2 seconds of this sample looped while in 5 seconds change a certain filter from 200 to 10000, repeat this, then start the playback of another sample, letting the samplehead jump around in a certain pattern while increasing the jumping speed in 10 seconds from 1 to 10'. I will add some randomness in timing as well as in processing. The best thing however is that the samples to be used can be specified for each run by just pointing to a folder on the computer's harddisk. Samples will be chosen randomly, so the idea being that there will be radically different versions possibly of the piece, but structurally they will be very similar.

The processing is chosen in such a way that resembles factory processes: repeating sounds, focus on mechanic movements, juxtaposition of very different sounds and rhythms.

During the process of building this thing I'll regularly post 'products' of this 'factory' on a Soundcloud page. Update: still have to work on it to make presentable 'products', there's too much dynamic range and painful peaks.

MOROS / 70's synths and Mellotron

The last couple of weeks I've been working on MOROS, my piece for contrabassclarinet and bassclarinet with electronics. A first version of the structure and note material is done, including some nice 70's synth arpeggios and my version of the Mellotron.

Now working on the electronic material, and in the middle of generating material using the family tree concept: starting out with 15 one-minute samples from my recording session with Laura Carmichael and Oguz Buyukberber, processing them with 3 playback methods from my laptop-instrument. Repeating this process iteratively I'm building a tree of derived samples. It's quite labour-intensive and although I'm actually 'playing' the samples, it's not a very exciting job. The tree can be as high as I want, but I know I'll get tired of it and will have enough material somewhere in the 2nd generation. Then comes listening back and selecting, putting together within the structure. That phase will be short and sweet, as it always is.

April 15, 2013 - April 2013 Archives

Disklavier Workshop compilation video

This is a compilation video of the Disklavier workshop I taught at Gaudeamus a couple weeks ago, together with Christina Oorebeek, Luc Houtkamp and Wouter Snoei. Teaching 5 composers all there is to know about Yamaha Disklaviers. In the context of the European Ulysses Network Project.

April 12, 2013 - April 2013 Archives

Money for your Whale

This is my collaboration with Albert van Veenendaal that will lead towards an album release, more concerts and a composition formerly called Preparado.

After a second mixing session we now have 10 songs. Time to share some with the world. 'Money for your Whale' is the track the band got the name from. Recorded live and edited offline, this is just one example of how we sound.

Guest lecturer Live Electronics Master CvA

This week I was a guest at the Conservatorium Amsterdam, talking about my work and 'the laptop as instrument'. Also working with the students preparing a concert that happened yesterday evening at STEIM. The group consists of 5 students from all over the world (Russia, Germany, Korea, Cypres, Israel), playing a range of instruments (drums, bass, guitar, vocals, piano - hey, a pop-band). They all had their act together, were very comfortable with hardware and software, and musically advanced. It was great to work with them, building an hour worth of performance.

During the process, I also build them a small live sampler in SuperCollider. I named it NanoSampler, to be controlled with a Korg nanoKontrol MIDI controller. It is a very basic version of the live sampling that I do myself. If you're interested, you can download it here:

One crappy photo below. And no, they weren't drunk. Part of the act.

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