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Hit It! Wu-Tang Clan, Plus Tops On World Music Charts

Hit It! Wu-Tang Clan, Plus Tops On World Music Charts

Below are some of the songs currently topping the charts around the world.

Worldcrunch Pick

"We’re making a single-sale collector’s item. This is like somebody having the scepter of an Egyptian king." This is how Wu-Tang Clan's RZA, in an interview with Forbes, described the hip-hop collective's surprise new album, Once Upon A Time In Shaolin, which was recorded in complete secrecy over the past six years.

This double album special is a bonafide musical event: not only has it reunited the whole group, includes a total of 31 90s-style Wu-Tang Clan tracks, and even features special guest appearances by FC Barcelona soccer players. But what really sets it apart is that the album will be purchasable by just one single individual in the world.

The lucky (and probably wealthy) buyer will obtain the following luxurious engraved silver-and-nickel box, which was handcrafted ovet the course of three months by the British Moroccan artist Yahya.

Photo: via scluzay.com

Although the release date has not been announced yet, the price for Once Upon A Time In Shaolin is already expected to reach millions. “We’re about to sell an album like nobody else sold it before,” RZA told Forbes.

Because Wu-Tang Clan's aim, before anything else according to Ezclziv, the "world’s first private music service" promoting the album, is to reconsider music as art. "Is exclusivity versus mass replication really the $50 million difference between a microphone and a paintbrush? Is contemporary art overvalued in an exclusive market, or are musicians undervalued in a profoundly saturated market?" RZA and his fellow rapper Cilvaringz ask.

To answer these questions, the album will first be exhibited in museums, festivals and galleries across the world before the sale in question. Venues have not been confirmed yet either, but Cilvaringz has already mentionned the Tate Modern.

Meanwhile, another Wu-Tang Clan album, A Better Tomorrow, is set to be released this year, celebrating the collective's 20th anniversary. The work has been delayed several times since its annoucement in 2011, but it will add to what will surely be a significant year for the Wu-Tang.

Until the lucky owner of Once Upon A Time In Shaolin inadvertently leaks the content of the magic box, here is the Wu-Tang's "Keep Watch", from A Better Tomorrow.

Cover photo: Wu-Tang Clan perform at the Coachella Festival in April 2013. Omar Ornelas/The Desert Sun/ZUMA

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Ideas

Saving The Planet Is Really A Question Of Dopamine

Our carelessness toward the environment could be due, in part, to the functioning of a very primitive area of our brain: the striatum.

Ad scuba-diver and brain coral

Stefano Lupieri

PARIS — Almost every week, a new scientific study alerts us to the degradation of the environment. And yet, we continue not to change anything fundamental in our systems of production and habits of consumption. Are we all suffering from blindness, or poisoned by denial?

In his popular books Le Bug humain (The Human Bug) and Où est le sens? (Where is the Sense?), Sébastien Bohler, a journalist in neuroscience and psychology, provides a much more rational explanation: The mechanism responsible for our propensity to destroy our natural environment is in fact a small, very deep and very primitive structure of our brain called the striatum.


This regulator of human motivation seems to have been programmed to favor behaviors that ensure the survival of the species.

Addictions to sex and social media

Since the dawn of humanity, gathering information about our environment, feeding ourselves, ensuring the transmission of our genes through sexual intercourse and asserting our social status have all been rewarded with a shot of dopamine, the 'pleasure hormone.'

Nothing has changed since then; except that, in our society of excess, there is no limit to the satisfaction of these needs. This leads to the overconsumption of food and addictions to everything from sex to social media — which together account for much of the world's destructive agricultural and energy practices.

No matter how much we realize that this is leading to our downfall, we can't help but relapse because we are prisoners of the dopamine pump in the striatum, which cannot be switched off.

Transverse section of striatum from a structural MRI image

Lindsay Hanford and Geoff B Hall via Wikipedia

Tweaking genetics 

According to Bohler, the only way out is to encourage the emergence of new values of sobriety, altruism and slowness. If adopted, these more sustainable notions could be recognized by the striatum as new sources of dopamine reward. But there's the challenge of promoting inspiring stories that infuse them with value.

Take the photo-collage exhibition "J'agis ici... et je m'y colle" ("I'm taking action here... and I'm sticking to it"), a collection of life-size portraits of residents committed to the energy transition, displayed on the walls of the French coastal city of La Rochelle.

Backed by the French National Center for Street Arts, photographer Martin Charpentier may be employing artistic techniques, but he's also tinkering with neuroscience in the process.

Les Echos
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