Robert Takahashi Crouch
An Occupied Space

An Occupied Space is the debut full-length release by Los Angeles artist Robert Takahashi Crouch. Each track takes as its point of departure a field recording of a public place where music is integral to the experience of these social constructs. Throughout the release, music is piped through loudspeakers across public plazas and boulevards, footsteps cross thresholds where reverberating guitars and vocals spill out into city. “I found it necessary to give myself a very strict set of parameters,” Crouch states, “in order to approach the idea of making music in the first place. I suppose it comes from my training as a visual artist.”

Furthering this analogy to a visual arts practice, An Occupied Space has perhaps more in common with the photographers from the Düsseldorf School, rather than the history of field recording or ambient music. Much like the photographers Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer, and Thomas Ruff, and how they wrestle with both the psychology of their subject matter as well as the politics and constraints of their chosen medium, An Occupied Space can be considered to be a collection of landscape studies, with the artist fulfilling the roles of documentarian, composer, and observer simultaneously.

Structurally, An Occupied Space operates within overlapping contexts; they exist as documents, as meditations on the psychology of place, and finally as self-reflexive “objects” that address the contingent nature of their own construction. They are as much about music as they are music. “I wanted to employ melody without necessarily being melodic, to explore texture without remaining static, and to respect the integrity of the original recordings while still allowing my hand as artist to remain evident.”