An upcoming Wu-Tang Clan album, one conceived from the ground up to be something more akin to a conceptual art project than an album, will indeed feature an appearance from Cher, a guest shot long ago tipped on the project's official website. A brief snippet made its way to the Web on Tuesday and features some of Cher's vocals.
Rolling Stone confirmed the Cher appearance after Forbes posted more details of the album -- dubbed "The Wu – Once Upon A Time In Shaolin …" -- which the act recorded with producer Tarik "Cilvaringz" Azzougarh and is being hidden away in Morocco. "Flying more than 3,500 miles from New York to Casablanca for less than a minute of music may seem a bit extravagant," Forbes writes in perhaps one of the biggest understatements in the history of music journalism.
Much concerning "Once Upon A Time In Shaolin …" remains something of a secret. Producer Cilvaringz refused to even mention the title of the track from which the audio snippet given to Forbes appears -- for fear, no doubt, of angering some multihorned creature currently sleeping in the Moroccan mountains.
The Cher assist, however, was not a secret. The album has long been said to boast an appearance from "Bonnie Jo Mason," an early pseudonym for the artist. It was right there on the project's website for anyone who wanted to read more about the album and then do a Google search. (But then again, why would you?)
Cilvaringz and RZA wrote an impassioned manifesto explaining the project, comparing the recorded works that essentially no one has heard to a contemporary art piece, and expressing a desire for it to "put on listening display in renowned galleries, museums, venues and exhibition spaces around the world."
Those sound an awful lot like listening parties, which in this case run the risk of being attended by those on the prowl for free booze or the novelty of it all. There is a chance that whoever buys the album -- and RZA has said previously he's received offers as high as $5 million -- will make it free to all of us who live in real-world tax brackets, but where's the charm in a song if it's not also presented in "in a hand-carved nickel-silver box designed by the British-Moroccan artist Yahya"? Nowhere, obviously.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times