The Shackle Stick received its first review in Vital Weekly.

SHACKLE – THE SHACKLE STICK (USB device and card game)
A duo of Robert van Heumen (laptop) and Anne La Berge (flute, electronic, voice). Both are quite known in the world of improvised music and them working together is perhaps nothing new. However the way they work is quite interesting. Along with the USB device you get a card game. There are twenty musical variations cards, each in three different parameters. A conductor shows one of these cards for ten seconds and then musicians start improvising, unless a player produces a ‘cancel’ card; then a new card is shown. Players have also a ‘next’ card, which they can use when they like to play something new. A bit like Eno’s ‘Oblique Strategies’, but then completely different. It directs improvisation in a great way, I think. The card game is designed beautifully by Isabelle Vigier and it would be great to try this out one day. The card game is made up to between two and five players, but on the USB device there is of course just La Berge and Van Heumen. The short movie sees them performing the card ‘Chuck’, and then there three further pieces of music, with titles that don’t seem directly related to the cards, but no doubt were generated of using the cards. I mean: why would they otherwise be part of this package? This is some excellent improvisation, with La Berge’s flutes clearly the central point and Van Heumen processing of the flute, along whatever else he does come up within the space of his computer. He gives the music a great vibrant character, whereas La Berge’s playing brings a more introspective element to the table – at least at times – she can be nasty as well. This is, overall, a great imaginative work, of great music, great concept and wonderful execution. (FdW)