Essays On The Intersection Of Music And Architecture
A photograph of four young men, dressed in sharp suits, with their jet-black hair slicked into pompadours, made me stop and stare.They were The Cathays, banded together in 1963 in New York’s Chinatown after listening to The Temptations and The Four Seasons.The Moon Represents My Heart made me want to call my mom and tell her that I have questions — I’ll listen a little longer now.The editors of Resounding Images: Medieval Intersections of Art, Music, and Sound begin the volume with a brief review of some of the recent literature addressing medieval conjunctions of sound and image.My family — like many Chinese and Asian American families — struggles to say “I love you,” making the ends of phone calls terribly awkward.But even if it’s not expressed, there’s love in quiet acceptance.Eng’s photo seemed to say that this is how our parents love us: by trusting us, and by letting something so foreign — a makeshift workstation for art or music — enter the house.I wrote my first reviews at our fake pearl-inlaid, Chinese-style dining table, catalogues stacked high until my mom came in with newspaper to cover it — “Move, it’s time to eat.”Clockwise from top left: Polaroid of Hewson Chen playing drums, 1985; James Chen and his son Hewson, 1988; James Chen, Taiwanese Folk Style (Moon Glyph: 2016), cassette; James Chen’s guitar party, 1982; James Chen’s “x-ray art” of Chinese zodiac horse and dog, 1971 (materials courtesy of James and Hewson Chen)Nearby, James and Hewson Chen’s father-son collaboration on Taiwanese Folk Style (2017) is a tender reflection on the feeling of becoming American. Louis in 1971 to practice medicine, but he missed home so much he started writing songs for his son, later performing them at local gigs and self-producing karaoke videos.
There’s so much more in The Moon Represents My Heart that made my mind (and heart) spill over.
Some 40 years later, Hewson added guitar reverb and a bouncing beat; “Summer in Taiwan” arouses the restless feeling of awaiting the night when the humidity and mosquitos die down.
James is featured on the cassette cover, a stark figure in a dark suit against a white wall covered in black paper cutouts of a billowing palm tree, a dog, and a grazing horse.
The take-no-prisoners guitar shredding from Emily’s Sassy Lime, a 1990s all-Asian American riot grrrl trio from Southern California, which included artist Amy Yao and her sister Wendy Yao, who founded the legendary punk boutique Ooga Booga in LA’s Chinatown; Burning Star Core founder C.
Spencer Yeh’s thumping, burbling sound works that showcase his unlearning of classical music.