Wu-Tang Clan’s ‘very special’ album played at Australian museum

By Thomson Reuters Jun 16, 2024 | 1:05 AM

SYDNEY (Reuters) – U.S. hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan’s one-of-a-kind album “Once Upon A Time in Shaolin” began playing at an Australian museum on Saturday, organisers said, with fans in attendance describing the music as “very special” and “amazing”.

All timeslots for the twice-a-day sessions at Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art are sold out, with about 5,000 people on a waiting list. The museum is showcasing the single-print album from June 15 to 24.

“They’re small sessions, they’re about 30 people,” said a museum spokesperson, who confirmed the start of the first listening session on Saturday afternoon.

The album, which has just one physical copy in the world, has a storied history, having been bought by the convicted pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli in 2015 for $2 million.

Shkreli gave it up to as part of a $7.4 million forfeiture order after his 2017 conviction for defrauding hedge fund investors and scheming to defraud investors in a drugmaker.

It is now owned by non-fungible token collectors PleasrDAO who purchased the album for $4 million from the U.S. government. PleasrDao is also suing Shkreli for making copies of the album and releasing the music to the public.

Music fan Cameron McBryde, who had travelled from Queensland capital Brisbane, described hearing the album as “very special”.

“I don’t know another song or album anywhere else in the world that holds that same value that this one does like that,” McBryde told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Another attendee, Hayden Kovacic, from Hobart, said it was “amazing” to be one of so few to get to listen to the album.

“It was actually hectic,” Kovacic told the ABC. “The production was off it’s head”.

The album consists of 31 new tracks recorded and produced by the New York-based group over six years from 2007 “in the original Wu-Tang style of the 90s”, according to the album’s official website.

(Reporting by Sam McKeith and James Redmayne in Sydney; editing by Miral Fahmy)