Robert Van Heumen

Robert V Heumen

Robert van Heumen uses the laptop combined with various physical controllers to create sound worlds. As a musician, live sampling is his main tool. With a joystick and other controllers he manipulates live sampled sound and recontextualizes it in realtime. He is constantly searching for new strategies for live sampling and for the perfect balance between free improvisation and structure. The laptop is used in an instrumental, tactile way, connecting action to sound like any acoustic instrument. As John Ferguson puts it: 'Live sampled source sounds are gesturally manipulated and reworked within open ended narratives, exploring cycles of repetition beyond episodic improvisation'. Van Heumen is performing regularly with schackle (with electro-flutist Anne LaBerge), ABATTOIR (with cellist/vocalist Audrey Chen), SKIF++ (audio-visual trio with Jeff Carey & Bas van Koolwijk) and Davis/VanHeumen (with bass clarinetist Gareth Davis). He uses STEIM's  live sampling software LiSa and realtime audio-synthesis software SuperCollider.

Recent electronic works include the compositions Stranger and Fury, which are performed in multichannel and semi-improvised environments. Fury is inspired by the Dust Bowl period in the US, Stranger is a composed work as well as a research in the compositional process, built using a series of basic samples. These compositions are performed by himself at conferences like the International Computer Music Conference, the Spark Festival and the Sound and Music Computing Conference. Currently Van Heumen is working on a composition for Disklavier and computer, on a sound walk in collaboration with writer and theater maker Simone de Jong (both to be premiered at the Gaudeamus Muziekweek festival 2011) and on an electronic composition for the sonic arts collective Call & Response in London.

Van Heumen documents his performances as well as his composed work on labels like Creative Sources Recordings, Evil Rabbit Records and Fridgesound. He is regularly teaching workshops on live electronics and structured improvisation at universities and other educational organizations, both in the Netherlands and internationally. Van Heumen worked for 10 years at the Studio for Electo-Instrumental Music (STEIM) in Amsterdam as project manager, curator of the Local Stop concert series and member of the artistic committee. In a previous life he was a trumpet player, mathematician and software programmer. He still reads mathematician and philosopher L.E.J. Brouwer.