Robert van Heumen works with electronic means to create soundworlds. As a musician Van Heumen uses STEIM's live sampling software LiSa and real-time audio-synthesis software SuperCollider, controlled by various physical devices. His soundworlds are a mixture of digital crackles, heavy distortion, melancholic melodies, environmental sounds, voices and sounds from kitchen appliances, some of the time smashed beyond repair. Live sampled source sounds are gesturally manipulated and reworked within open ended narratives, exploring cycles of repetition beyond episodic improvisation.
Recent fixed-media works include the compositions Stranger and Fury, which are performed in multichannel and semi-improvised environments. Fury was presented at ICMC08, and Stranger premiered as a diffused work at Culturelab in Newcastle (UK) and was performed live at the Sound and Music Computing Conference in Porto in 2009. Both compositions are available on Creative Sources Recordings. In the fall of 2008 Van Heumen constructed the radioplay No Man's Land, commissioned by the CEM studio at WORM in Rotterdam, NL.
Van Heumen is performing regularly with the audio-visual trio SKIF++ (with Jeff Carey & Bas van Koolwijk), Shackle (working with electro-flutist Anne LaBerge on restriction), ABATTOIR (with cellist/vocalist Audrey Chen) and Whistle Pig Saloon (with guitarist John Ferguson deconstructing the guitar). He is a founding member of the N Collective and has shared the stage with dj sniff (Takuro Mizuta Lippit), Michel Waisvisz, Richard Barrett, Sakata Akira, Nicolas Collins, Oguz Buyukberber, Luc Houtkamp, Guy Harries, Tom Tlalim, Nicolas Field, Morten J. Olsen, Daniel Schorno, Roddy Schrock, Nate Wooley a.o.
Van Heumen is Managing Director of the STEIM foundation in Amsterdam, curator of the Local Stop concert series and member of STEIM's Artistic Committee. In a previous life mathematician, trumpet player and software programmer. He still reads L.E.J. Brouwer.
"... the whole set is sensuous fun as well as intellectually stretching."
Brian Morton (The Wire) on Whistle Pig Saloon
"... dynamic, ever changing, crackling, loud and soft, buzzing and hissing. Vibrant music this is, great music, moving away from the delicate structures of microsound into the land of noise based textures."
Frans de Waard (Vital Weekly) on Fury
"This is musique concrete that has torn away from its formal, academic origins. Deconstruction and reassembly in nasty extremis."
David Stubbs (The Wire) on SKIF++'s CD 'SK++ [01,02,03,04,00]'
"Office-R(6) literally sculpt rather than play the music using acoustic instruments and computers yeilding a music that is sublty seismic and eminently contemporary."
Musicreaction on OfficeR's CD 'Recording the Grain'