Chen Yi aims for a collective approach of art. As an isolated group of humans/numbers operating directly from a secret place in Chelmsford (UK), they developped a personnal and "bizarre" utilisation of guitars, machines, voices, distortion, giving as result an unconventional regroupment of compositions amongst a lot of lost/unreleased recordings. This is likely what got John Peel interested which leads to an inexplicable CBS contract. More couldn't be finalised, because CBS suddenly pulled out of the contract. "Due to their raw and alternative 'self-made' musical approach, they've been compared to the likes of Throbbing Gristle, Borghesia & Severed Heads or more underground names as Het Zweet, Biting Tongues..."
ABOUT THESE RECORDINGS
Most documents on this release were recorded in the Chen Yi commune with a “Studer A80 MkIV2“ 16 track with Dolby SR.
These early tapes were never completed or mastered by Chen Yi. Partly they include unfinished session recordings or notes. That’s why a heavy post processing was necessary, sometimes even reconstruction.
For years I was looking for the right equipment to listen to and mix the approximately 30 tapes. There were approximately 55 audio cassettes on top of that, with uncut recordings from the commune, from the so called “rounds“, the sessions and so forth. My father left me a tumultous accumulation of recordings, creasy & stuck together tapes that were for some curious reason been recorded using the most expensive studio technology you could get back then. However, none of the musicians had learn how to use it.
The Chen Yi commune never was interested in producing records, some of the members even refused any form of release whatsoever. In 1981 one member (Chen 8) released a tape edition called “Hanging“. The title referred to the first 3 english witches who were hanged in Chelmsford, where the commune house was located. This cassette was sent to various record companies. John Peel saw a potential in Chen Yi which led to a recording contract in 1982/83 with CBS. About 7 tracks were produced for the first Chen Yi LP “The Rape“ in 1982. Basic lines were recorded at the Chen Yi studio in Chelmsford. For 2 tracks the end production was completed at the Trident Studios, London. More couldn’t be finalised, because CBS suddenly pulled out of the contract. This left unfinished tapes of an LP & an EP (3 tracks for a planned Peel Session, 1983), on which partly only drum computer & synthesizer can be heard as a basic pattern.
A1. Stand Up
A3. Commune #17.3.1979
A6. Chensession #6.4.1978
A8. Honey Monkey
B2. Honey Money
B4. Chensession #20.5.1979
B6. Potatoheads #21.3.1980
Format: 12-inch Vinyl LP
Label: 90% Wasser
Genre: Minimal / Electro / Avant-garde