[CD Review] Various Artists, 'Wu-Tang Chamber Music' (E1 Music)

Like 2005Ns Wu-Tang Meets the Indie Culture, Wu-Tang Chamber Music is not an official Wu album. ItNs an “official compilation” that doesnNt feature established members such as Masta Killa and GZA, but instead hosts NYC old-school all-stars including Masta Ace, Sadat X and Kool G Rap. But it feels like vintage Clan. A lot of people will probably like this better than the groupNs last album, 8 Diagrams, which was widely viewed as a pretentious departure from their signature style.

Full of kung-fu clips and live instrumental funk and soul, Chamber MusicNsproduction was done by RZA and Brooklyn band the Revelations. With its explosive choruses and mystical atmosphere, it recalls the groupNs early days. Inspectah DeckNs inspired verse on “Sound the Horns” is a highlight, as is “Radiant Jewels,” which features a dramatic violin hook and airtight rhymes from Raekwon and Cormega.

Lyrically, not everyone brings his A-game. Ghostface Killah has a few throwaways (“Pockets is fat like the Goodyear blimp,” etc.), and RZA continues to spout the nonsense metaphysical mumbo-jumbo heNs been so fond of in recent years. Still, after the groupNs recent internal animosity, itNs great to see them still making good—and sometimes great—music together.

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