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.
Yann Novak and Robert Takahashi Crouch are a creative and romantic couple living and working in Los Angeles. Their collaborative practice incorporates field recordings, photography, and video as tools to investigate the relationship between site and subject. Their performances and installations have been presented at the AxS Festival, Pasadena; California Museum of Photography, Riverside; Desert Daze Festival, Southern California; Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza, Berkeley; Gays Hate Techno, Northern California; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; LACMA, Los Angeles; PØST, Los Angeles; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York and others. Their compositions have been published by The Tapeworm, Murmur Records, Estuary Ltd., IO Sound, and Untitled & After.