Yi-Chen Chang & Marc Riordan - Quad Sound, Volume 1 CS (Haha, 2021)
"improvised violin and piano duets recorded in cambridge, ma in 2005.
here is what writer catherine wagley has to say about quad sound, volume one!it’s hard sometimes to know exactly where you are in quad sound, and there is some relief in being an untethered listener. it even feels a little bit familiar to always be in the midst of a space with no clear start and end point—it’s what most days feel like to me—even after you’ve listened a number of times (though that whooshing cat call sound almost half way through does function loosely as a middle). when i first started listening, i thought fleetingly of the time in adolescence when liking mingus ah um felt like it meant something, because everyone else i grew up around found it strange and alienating. quad sound reminds me of the phase that comes long after you realize that appreciating experiments is not special, and many people you do and will know embrace far stranger sounds, and that maybe these sounds aren’t really even strange. in this later phase, there is no clout or exclusivity associated with enjoying untethered and open-ended gestures, so you can just spend time with them, and then you get increasingly good at spending time, and finding new pathways through that time. it sounds to me like the voices and threads in quad sound are searching out a different way through a familiar terrain, at times feeling lost and uncertain, but also good—even highly skilled—at navigating such feelings. sometimes, early on, there are moments when the violin sounds almost like a whistle, or a high-pitched voice, that is stuck inside a container of sound only slightly more certain and robust than it is. other times, it doesn't sound like stuckness at all. sometimes, i think there is a robust kind of resolution near the end, and sometimes I don’t think it sounds like anyone has figured anything out." - haha
from marc riordan:
this truly is one of my favorite recordings that i’ve ever made, and catherine is right: sometimes you have robust resolutions and sometimes you don’t figure anything out. yi-chen chang is a one-of-kind musician. i saw her perform a webern piece in boston’s jordan hall in 2004 and, a 22 year-old webern freak, I asked her to start a project with me. yi-chen (28 at the time) brought a young life’s worth of passion for a much broader music. her violin, as catherine points out, sometimes sounds more like a voice, a whisper, an erhu (which she studied and played), sometimes seems to hide and sometimes reveals with great boldness a bottomless well of joy, pain, sorrow, love. it also reflects her deep connection to musical forms from the now much discussed but even then much embattled xinjiang region of china and beyond. above all, though, was her tremendous capacity for listening, her willingness to wrestle honestly and earnestly with any idea that came her way. and yes, to navigate great uncertainty, and to be witnessed in such an ever-evolving, ever imperfect state. yi-chen currently resides in taipei.