Robert Crouch – Sublunar

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Another new release from the innovative Touch label, this one lands Friday. In addition to issuing a number of fine recordings, Touch sponsors a mentorship program that helps artists with grant applications, business counseling and more. It’s an impressive outfit.

Robert Crouch is a solid addition to the stable. His latest, Sublunar was recorded live in Los Angeles. It’s a subtle, nuanced electronic work that demands – and promptly rewards – a close listen.

Crouch pulled its source material from “mas gestos y mas caras,” a July 2016 collaboration with Rafa Esparza and Yann Novak. (Google tells me that translates to “More gestures and more faces.”)

His process is part of the story. Crouch’s interests lie in “the complex relationships between sound, context and meaning” according to a write-up accompanying the new disc. By lifting pieces of a previous recording and breathing new life into them, he’s done exactly what he set out to do.

The album’s first piece “Descension,” begins appropriately enough with a recording of Esparza breathing. It’s not immediately recognizable, in part because it’s set within an intricate mix of ambient sounds. Two minutes in, it’s clear we’re in for an intense, detailed listen.

But it’s a quiet intensity. The most striking thing about the album is its ability to go in multiple directions and at the same time maintain an even keel. It surprises without jarring. It is intricate and at the same time expertly polished.

Touch has produced 500 CD copies of Sublunar. It will also be available as a download.

For details on Crouch’s back catalogue, visit robertcrouch.com.

Kevin Press

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