ROBERT CROUCH – An Occupied Space

Dragon’s Eye

Many records born from the juxtaposition of outdoor environments and strictly musical materials impress with some kind of aural majesty on a first listen, then reveal a desperate shortage of ideas which in turn introduces an inevitable sense of saturation after half of their length. An Occupied Space – debut album of Los Angeles-based sound and visual artist Crouch – is not what you call a haunting release, but the legitimacy of its existence is out of question. The music, we’re told, was diffused by loudspeakers placed “across public plazas and boulevards” in order to let the essential sonic constituents – which include strata of unrecognizably processed guitars and vocals – influence the acoustic panorama of that location. On record, it is impossible to determine the effect of the procedure on the local populations; what’s certain is that this stuff moves in washes of static agglomerates, a constant ebb and flow of permanent gradations that surely does not affect our consciousness negatively and, on the contrary, generate states of mind that could even prelude to an ecstasy of sorts. Still, a general lack of poignancy and/or mystery in conjunction with the effortlessness characterizing the harmonic constitution place the work on a secondary level of significance, definitely behind the actual milestones of this area.

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