In the mid-1970s, Robin Crutchfield moved to New York to participate in the growing conceptual and performance art movement. After several performances in galleries and alternative spaces which received critical acclaim, he broke away from the scene to pursue music. In 1979, after having formed the infamous no wave band DNA with Arto Lindsay and Ikue Mori, and recorded a single for Lust/Unlust and four tracks for the Eno-produced “No New York” album, and having gigged with DNA for nearly a year, Robin determined the band was moving in a direction counter to his own interests and left to form his own project, Dark Day.
With the aid of Nancy Arlen (Mars) and Nina Canal (The Gynecologists and Ut), he released an initial single “Hands In The Dark” b/w “Invisible Man” on Lust/Unlust, Charles Ball’s fledgling label which had already released the historic debut recordings of Lydia Lunch’s groundbreaking Teenage Jesus & The Jerks, as well as the aforementioned DNA single.
Dark Day’s first album “Exterminating Angel” followed in 1980. The band consisted of Robin, Phil Kline, and Barry Friar, but the lineup remained fluid, and at various times included Steven Brown and Peter Principle of Tuxedomoon, filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, Nina Canal and David Rosenbloom. The album’s release was followed with a promotional 12 inch “Trapped” whose b-side “The Exterminations 1-6”, six hyper-reverse mixes, remains Robin’s favorite of his early work. During this time Dark Day played live concerts in New York City at The Mudd Club, TR3, CBGB’s, Max’s Kansas City, Hurrah’s, and Trax as well as M-80, the New No Now Wave Festival in Minneapolis. A mini-tour of Europe included gigs at Leuven, Rotterdam, and Amsterdam.
After a brief shift in aesthetics, Robin reformed Dark Day as a synthetic keyboard duo with Bill Sack and recorded a second album “Window” on Plexus Records.
In the early to mid-1980’s, he wrote and published several short novelettes and did art performance readings at performance spaces like Club 57 and Joseph Papp’s Public Theater.
In 1985 he resumed Dark Day as a more or less medieval acoustic chamber ensemble composing music similar to Moondog, Penguin Cafe Orchestra and Dead Can Dance. This incarnation of the band consisted of Robin on pipe organ, Brian Bendlin on rattles, bells, and drums, Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer on cello, Shawn McQuate on recorder, and Bill Sack on hauntingly atmospheric ‘spirit guitars’. With this lineup he released a limited edition CD, “Darkest Before Dawn” in 1989.
In 1997, Dirk Ivens of Belgian label Daft Records contacted Robin to release a compilation CD of the best tracks from the early Lust/Unlust and Plexus years entitled “Dark Day: Collected 1979-1982”. Following its release, Robin went back into the studio to take up recording again. A new album of oddly rhythmic, cyclical instrumental works featuring a variety of unusual MIDI voices, was released in the fall of 1999, and was appropriately entitled, “Dark Day-Strange Clockwork”, and led to two others “Loon” and “The Happy Little Oysters”. Approach to the new work was like that of a railway conductor ticket-punching a computer-driven player piano, supplying gear-like layers of melody and rhythm with a comically sinister edge. Several years later, a 72-minute 20 track CD compilation of the best songs from these 3 discs was released under the title “r.l.crutchfield’s Dark Day-”Strange Clockwork”.
In the Spring of 2000, quirky docu-director Errol Morris contacted Robin and used two Dark Day pieces for an episode of his Bravo TV series “First Person”. He self-published a number of faerie tales and exhibited his newly written and illustrated books in a gallery show curated by Norman Shapiro at the Leslie-Lohman Gay Art Foundation entitled Verbal/Visual/Tactile: Book Artist’s Show. In 2006 Robin retreated from the cyclic electronic keyboard influences of the 20th century, to embrace acoustic material more in keeping with the ancient musics, and released two solo albums, “Songs For Faerie Folk”, and “Toadstool Soup. These feature daydreamlike improvisations on harp, tanpura, lyre, box drum and pixiefone based on some of the thematic elements suggested by faerie lore and the distant past. In 2007, he released “For Our Friends In The Enchanted Otherworld.” This was followed by an album in the same vein, “The Hidden Folk”, in 2009 on the Important Records label. Robin Crutchfield continues to happily explore and provide acoustic glissando and drone harp soundscapes for the daydreamers of the world.
ROBIN CRUTCHFIELD MAY BE CONTACTED AT email@example.com
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