British loudspeaker manufacturer, PMC, was asked to produce a one-off pair of speakers as part of "the world’s only musical work of art" which has been created by American hip hop group Wu-Tang Clan and has been sold today to a mystery private collector for an undisclosed sum in the millions. However, we won't be able to hear the music, as the conditions of the sale stipulate that the buyer must agree not to release any of the album content or artwork to the public for a period of 88 years, and there is no physical or digital duplicate of the music in existence.
PMC built an exclusive pair of its colossal MB2-XBD studio speakers, which are six feet tall, have two 12-inch woofers and can handle 2000 watts that will allow the new owner of this one-off musical work of art to experience the audio exactly as its producers intended.
The album, entitled Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, was recorded and mixed on an identical pair of PMC speakers. It is a retrospective soundscape that threads 31 songs, skits and stories into a 128-minute long aural screenplay. 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. As a one-off album envisioned from execution through to ‘distribution’ as both a work of art and an audio artefact, the piece is 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.
Recorded and mixed exclusively on PMC’s MB2-XBD monitors on Staten Island, New York, the Clan’s producers, Tarik ‘Cilvaringz’ Azzougarh and Robert ‘The RZA’ Diggs (above), insisted that a pair of the speakers should be included within the sale, so that the new owner could hear the piece exactly as it was intended.
Talking about the speakers, RZA said: "In order to curate the experience of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin for the collector, we decided to have two PMC MB2-XBD speakers included with the album. These speakers were used during production and mastering and distil this work into its purest form, and in sculpting each beat, each frequency and each flash of feeling, they are themselves a work of artistry."
Miles Roberts, PMC’s head of sales & marketing, added: "It is a real privilege to be included within the project and is the ultimate ‘from studio to the home’ message we aim to convey. The speakers created to accompany the album are an absolute one-off, the likes of which we will never create again. We’re sure the lucky owner will be delighted with the performance."