Chen Yi - The 1978-1983 LP 28788

Chen Yi - The 1978-1983 LP 28788
Second edition of 150 copies.

The CHEN YI Commune (1978-1984)
The Chen Yi Commune was founded in 1978 by about 20 women & men from London & the surrounding area. The building of the commune, an old school in Chelmsford, was located on vast premises & was encircled by a wall. The aim of the commune was to create a closed subsystem, a kind of subsociety and to narrow down its contact to the outside world only on very few specific actions. Life in the commune was lead hermetically closed. All circuits, the food, culture and communication circuits had to be self-contained.

The influence of the outside world on the inner life of the commune & vice versa, was controlled. Actions aimed at the outside world were directed towards specific persons. Due to the hermetically closed life within the commune during the first years, there were almost never problems with the local population. Not until 1982, after some members had intensified their public communication, it came to a brief, open conflict at the end of which stood the breakup of the commune and the destruction of the house in 1984.

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. Chen 26