Che Chen: electric guitar, quartertone electric guitar, alto saxophone
Rick Brown: percussion, alto saxophone
75 Dollar Bill formed in New York City in 2012; the singular music of this instrumental duo draws various sources from around the world and across disciplines, everything from Mauritanian guitar to raw minimalism and blown-out urban blues, yet sounds unlike anything we’ve heard before. Wooden Bag is their debut vinyl release (after various cassette and digital EPs) and first for Other Music Recording Co., packaged in a limited-edition hand-stamped sleeve, download included. The band will be touring the US throughout the winter and spring.
Che Chen has recorded and toured playing violin, guitars and other instruments, with a diverse set of artists including True Primes, Jozef van Wissem, Maher Shalal Hash Baz, Che-Shizu and Robbie Lee. His guitar work explores a variety of influences, including Mauritanian guitar, Indian music, North Mississippi guitar boogie, Sun Ra, Led Zeppelin, the Velvets, Henry Flynt, and DNA.
Rick Brown has been playing drums and percussion on the downtown New York scene since the early ‘80s, and has recorded and toured with numerous bands, including V-Effect, Run On, Timber, Fish & Roses, and Chris Stamey, and has collaborated live or in the studio with Tortoise, Matmos, Yo La Tengo, Charles Hayward, Fred Frith, Malcolm Mooney, Elliott Sharp, Jean Smith, Mark Cunningham and many others.
In The New York Times, Ben Ratliff wrote of the duo’s live show: “Che Chen’s guitar: a cut-rate Japanese model sketching looped figures inside old Arabic modes, pushing jagged sound through a small amplifier. But as Mr. Chen stood playing hypnotic guitar repetitions, moving with the stresses of the riffs, the drummer Rick Brown sat on a square wooden box, open in the back, and attacked it from above. Sometimes he used his heel to bounce on a kick-drum pedal, pointing backward toward the box; mostly he was striking the sides of the box with his hands and a homemade mallet, hard, finding different pitches in different places. He cued transitions in the music, building odd or compound rhythms, turning them around and blurring distinctions between downbeats and upbeats. On the surface, the rhythms were only secondary to the guitar lines; deeper down, they were enfolded. One couldn’t do without the other.”