15 March 2013

How do you say ‘pretentious attention-seeking poseur’ in Chinese?

Funny you should ask, since apparently, they have a very appropriate term for the phrase: 艾未未 (Ai Weiwei).

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, whose oeuvre already spans genres from film to architecture, is taking on a new medium with plans for a hard rock album, he told AFP on Tuesday.

Ai’s avant-garde works, which also include visual arts and sculpture, have been exhibited around the world, but he admitted his musical limitations.

He was not a long-standing hard rock fan and had no favourite bands, he said.

“My favourite band will be myself,” he added. “I don’t play instruments, I sing and I wrote the songs. It’s about my condition and China’s condition.”

The music, composed by a friend, is in the final stage of mixing, while videos are also being produced. The album, provisionally titled “Divine Comedy”, is due for release within two months, he added.

Now, I’m the last guy you’ll catch saying that politics has no place in metal. But at the very least it shouldn’t be the driving force for making music - that’s aesthetic Stalinism (however ironic such an appellation might be in Ai’s case). And the fact that he isn’t a metalhead, the fact that he doesn’t even have a favourite band, and most tellingly of all the fact that he claims himself as his favourite band, all show that we’re dealing with some Geoff Tate-worthy levels of wankery here.

Ahh, my gentle readers, you know I’ll listen to it. Hell, I managed to sit through Founding of a Republic without being bored to tears, and even managed to find a couple of praiseworthy thematic elements in it. Who knows, Ai might surprise me. Suffice it to say, though, I’m not holding my breath.

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