Robert van Heumen Composer Improvisor Laptop-Instrumentalist Sound-Designer
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Composition 42

Stranger: composition and live interpretation (2008)

Stranger is an electronic work that starts with the basic questions of life: How do we control our lives? Can we control our lives? What does it mean to die? Does it matter if we know when we`re going to die? Does anything matter? What really is empathy? What does it mean to be human? What can it mean to know another person, to understand another life? Is it possible to break free from the bonds of the familiar, from existing concepts and beliefs?

Stranger is inspired by Albert Camus' L'Etranger and Philip K. Dick's Do androids dream of electric sheep. And as always by L.E.J. Brouwer.

Similar questions to the ones stated above will arise in the choise of sounds and the structure of the processes and the composition itself: How do we choose sounds and processes out of many? Can that process be arbitrary, even random, or should every sound and every process be weighted again and again until we know it's right? What does that mean, 'it is right'? What is it to create a piece of music? Should the judgement of others be considered in making a composition? Is it even possible to create a unique piece of music? Does it matter whether is it unique or not?
The obvious metaphor: a composition as a life.

This video is the documentation of a semi-improvised live interpretation of the Stranger composition performed at the SPARK festival in Minneapolis in February 2009. The performance is semi-improvised, based upon a pre-conceived structure, exploring the no man`s land between a traditional tape piece and free improvisation.

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