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Chen Yi aimed 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 or unreleased recordings. This is likely what got John Peel interested which brought to an inexplicable contract with CBS. Due to their raw and alternative 'self-made' musical approach, they've been compared to the likes of Throbbing Gristle, Borghesia and Severed Heads or more underground names as Het Zweet and Biting Tongues.
About these recordings: most documents on this release were recorded in the Chen Yi commune with a Studer A80 MkIV2 16-track machine 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 and 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 three 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 two 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 and an EP (three tracks for a planned Peel Session, 1983), on which partly only drum computer & synthesizer can be heard as a basic pattern.