Back to Press Monday March 2, 2015

Paddle8 presents the exclusive sale of Wu-Tang Clan’s one-of-a-kind album Once Upon A Time in Shaolin

Beginning March 2, the sole copy of the new and final album by the Wu-Tang Clan will be available for private sale through Paddle8. MoMA PS1 to host an intimate listening event and conversation with RZA on Monday, March 2

Paddle8 is honored to present the exclusive sale of the sole copy of the Wu-Tang Clan’s final album, Once Upon A Time in Shaolin. The album is a unique work of art that will be available for sale to one single collector, with no physical or digital duplicate in existence. Stored in a vault in Morocco since its completion last year, Once Upon A Time in Shaolin is the last album to include contributions by the entire surviving Wu-Tang Clan, and represents the apotheosis of the group’s three-decade career. Once Upon A Time in Shaolin will be available for private sale through Paddle8 beginning March 2, when Paddle8 will launch a special site with musical outtakes from the album, a track list, and exclusive interviews with Wu-Tang Clan founding member RZA at paddle8.com/wu-tang.

With a cinematic narrative in the inimitable Wu-Tang vernacular, Once Upon A Time in Shaolin has been envisioned from execution through distribution as both a work of art and an audio artifact. A sonic sculpture presented in a hand-carved nickel-silver box, it is accompanied by a 174-page manuscript containing lyrics, credits, and anecdotes on the production of each song, printed on gilded Fedrigoni Marina parchment and encased in leather by a master bookbinder. The conditions of sale stipulate that the buyer will agree to not release any of the content of the artwork to the public for a period of 88 years. As The Independent wrote upon the announcement of the album’s intended distribution, it serves as “a challenge to the increasing disposability of music in the digital era.”

Once Upon A Time in Shaolin is a retrospective soundscape that threads 31 songs, skits, and stories into a 128-minute-long aural screenplay. Recorded in part in the Wu-Tang Clan's home enclave of Staten Island, New York, the album marks not only a geographic return to “Shaolin”—the philosophical home of the Wu-Tang Clan—but a sonic homecoming as well. In addition to the original Clan members, the work reunites the diaspora of MCs related to the Clan into a compelling narrative, featuring appearances from longtime Wu-Tang collaborators like Redman, members of an extended brethren including Killarmy and Sunz of Man, and the familiar scene-setting of long-time backing vocalists Tekitha and Blue Raspberry. Once Upon A Time in Shaolin is produced by RZA and Tarik “Cilvaringz” Azzougarh, who has collaborated with Wu-Tang Clan since being discovered by Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Method Man in 1997.

On Monday, March 2, MoMA PS1 will present an intimate listening event as part of the institution’s Sunday Sessions series of public programming, organized by associate curator Jenny Schlenzka. The evening will feature a never-before-heard, 13-minute compilation of tracks from Once Upon A Time in Shaolin, as well as a conversation between RZA and Sasha Frere-Jones, the executive editor of Genius, about the album itself and its experimental distribution model. The event will serve as the first and only time that the public will hear excerpts from this album. A tailored sound experience has been generously provided by Jim Toth of Timbre Tech.

Once Upon A Time in Shaolin aims to reverse the devaluation of music, to celebrate the album as a work of art that encompasses the creative energies of an ecosystem of artists, and to help return music to a fine-art status. We are overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and curiosity for this project, and humbled that one collector will have the opportunity to experience the final Wu-Tang chapter in perpetuity.” – RZA, Wu-Tang Clan founding member

“We are honored that the Wu-Tang Clan has selected Paddle8 as the exclusive partner for the extraordinary sale of their one-of-a-kind album—a work of art that brings together the nine voices of the Wu-Tang Clan, perhaps for the last time. The album is a boundary-pushing masterpiece, and we are eager to make it available to Paddle8's global collecting audience.” – Alexander Gilkes, cofounder, Paddle8

About Paddle8
Paddle8 is the premiere collecting destination, presenting online auctions of extraordinary art, design, jewelry, watches, and collectibles. Using innovative technology, we’ve streamlined the collecting experience, combining the excitement and expertise of an auction house with efficient operational solutions and an international perspective. Founded in 2011 by Alexander Gilkes, an auctioneer and LVMH veteran, and Aditya Julka, a Harvard Business School MBA and serial entrepreneur, Paddle8 has over 100 employees worldwide, with teams in New York, L.A., and London. Paddle8 is funded by the investors behind Uber, Vimeo, Buzzfeed, Paperless Post, Warby Parker, and Bonobos, among others, as well as art-world insiders including artist Damien Hirst, art dealer Jay Jopling, and Matthew Mellon. paddle8.com

For additional information or images, please contact Sarah Goulet, sarah@paddle8.com

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