Chen Brothers – Ally
The Chen Brothers’ «Ally» is a limited edition of 50 archival CD-R’s in recycled, hand-made packaging designed and printed by Jeremy Chen with sound by Jonathan Chen…
Several years ago, my brother Jeremy and I began discussing the possibility of a collaborative project. Our initial idea was just that the collaboration would have something to do with the creation of an album: I would be responsible for the sound, and Jeremy would be responsible for the visual. As our discussion continued, we decided that Jeremy would design the sleeve before I would make the music, reversing the way recordings normally proceed. Thus, Jeremy would determine all the visual content of the sleeve, including the track names and times, and I would create the music to fit these parameters. This turned out to be a difficult task for me. I wasn’t used to accommodating a time frame in such a specific way as a composer. I made several versions of a couple of the tracks, but I didn’t feel like they were right. Meanwhile, the sleeve, which had the year 2006 printed on it, was missing its well past due CD. I had put the project aside for a couple of years when I decided on a different approach. I decided that maybe my brother was the composer here and that I was the performer/improviser. He had determined the track times and the instruction to me was to “do something within that time.” I treated each of the times as a stopwatch score with the instruction being to start and stop within the given time frame. Within that given time frame I improvised on electronics, in this case feedback. The recording was made at the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center in Troy, NY.