RZA’s Live Score Of ‘The 36th Chamber of Shaolin’ Reveals An Artist In His Element

Features Writer

Getty Image

Since their inception, Kung Fu movies have played an integral part in the sound and culture of The Wu-Tang Clan. While the film genre has had an impact on hip hop since the 1970s, The Wu-Tang Clan were the first to make it central to their group’s philosophy. The Wu-Tang’s de facto leader, RZA, cites The 36th Chamber of Shaolin as a particularly strong influence on him growing up. “Beyond the Kung-Fu, it was the reality of the situation that hit me,” he said. “Growing up as a black kid in America, I didn’t know that kind of story had existed anywhere else.”

One night, roughly 18 months ago, the idea came about to have RZA re-score all the music for the movie that had so much of a formative impact on him, while leaving the original dialogue and sound effects intact. After a year-and-a-half of meticulous planning, the Alamo Drafthouse helped make it a reality with RZA: Live From The 36th Chamber Of Shaolin, which made its debut at the Stateside Theater in Austin, Texas, last Thursday night. For two uninterrupted hours, RZA used his 20-plus years of sound archives like an arsenal, while meticulously composing an all-new soundtrack for the film, from the first frame all the way to the last.

Around The Web