Soon after I came to London in 2003, I got involved with the Ecademy social network, which was a different environment then than it is now: a place where you could meet creative and entrepreneurial odd-balls rather than the speed-pitching trade-floor that it became a few years later. Among the people I met then fewer could have made a convincing case for being more creative, or more odd, than An-shu. His keyboard had a big mouth on it, and he would regularly stir people on the forums. In person he was that class of outspoken digital artist that you don't see so much these days, now that the field has become a mainstream career option, whereas then it was just the latest borderline-commercially-viable refuge of the smart-but-unschoolable. An-shu was very fond of his hoodie.
Sometime in 2004, An-shu slouch-bounced into one of our meet-ups, bearing a clutch of these CDs. He announced that he'd had it with digital media (a.k.a. making Flash animations), and was re-inventing himself as a recording artist. From the A4 sheet inside the sleeve:
Enclosed — promo of an-shu's debut album, 'every monkey is a star' — "experimental, dirty hip-hop served with guitars and garnished with lyrics to wake you up to a point of insomnia, no bling-bling, gun talk or bitches in cribs here."
The song 'atom (the art of war)', a 'melodic number about government sanctioned mass murder and brainwashing in school' [why do people use inverted commas when they're quoting themselves?] was recently included in an ep released by London indie label cacophonic…
As well as being involved with cacophonic, An-shu recently set up apesounds promotions to help develop and promote music in collaboration with other London based artists.
I put it on when I got home, and I was impressed. Inside I'm always rolling my eyes when I hear of someone who's reinventing themselves for a career in music (having attempted it myself so half-heartedly that, thankfully, no one noticed). But there's a confidence to the writing (if not always to the rapping) that makes you think this could turn into something. Some of the lines that An-shu comes out with are exactly the kind of borderline trolling behaviour that I got used to on those forums: "The uterus is the root of all evil / The pineal gland controls mentalist upheaval".
I don't think I ever saw An-shu's again after that. Reinvention can do that to a person. His own domain, as well as those of the cacophonic record label and apesounds promotions, are no longer serving pages. Maybe he'll stop by this page one day in the far future. If so, please drop us a line, An-shu.