The four tracks that comprise Giving Water to the Dead were composed using sound materials originally recorded for the sound installation Histories of the Present, a public artwork commissioned by the City of Berkeley in 2019. But where the installation was about a melding of practices and sounds into a single gesture, Crouch and Novak wanted to take the opportunity of a split release to exploring divergent paths starting from common ground. For Giving Water to the Dead, each artist started with the same source material and plotted their own direction without direct influence from the other. As artists in a relationship and sharing a studio this was no easy feat. Despite the planned divergence the resulting tracks compliment each other, as the artists do.
A1. Robert Takahashi Crouch – A Determination of Salt Water Drowning
A2. Robert Takahashi Crouch – Like A Shipwreck We Die Going Into Ourselves
B1. Yann Novak – Our Bodies Stirred These Waters Briefly Pt. 1
B2. Yann Novak – Our Bodies Stirred These Waters Briefly Pt. 2
Drawing by Dorian Wood.
Mastered by Lawrence English at Negative Space.
Headphone Commute’s Best of 2022: Music For Sonic Installations In The Cavern Of Your Skull
Robert Takahashi Crouch and Yann Novak team up to release a 40-minute cassette split for a UK-based Tapeworm imprint. Fans of deconstructed minimal ambience sprinkled with noise, distortion and bass, will immediately find themselves bathing in all of its glorious textures. The mastering touch of Lawrence English only increases the warmth of the sonics, leaving the rest as it should be in place: ghostly sounds swooshing between the two channels, percolating through filtered surfaces, like a slowly-melting grainy film, about to reveal its analogue story, and then suddenly catching on fire to perish away. The split of four pieces unites them by the source material, which may be something orchestral, maybe symphonic (is that an organ in the forefront or the strings?). Through the mysterious chain of post-processing, the duo manages to force out a new life for these pieces, always mutating, and never standing still. I am especially partial to Novak’s use of bass, on what appears to be his more organic work here. This all started with a public artwork commissioned by the City of Berkley in 2019, for which the duo was commissioned to create a sound installation. “But where the installation was about a melding of practices and sounds into a single gesture, Crouch and Novak wanted to take the opportunity of a split release to explore divergent paths starting from common ground.” Conceptual approaches aside, this is an enormous release in the miniature, saturated with wavering frequencies that seem to resonate with the dead and beyond. Loud volumes are recommended!
— Headphone Commute