I often wonder: Why do people write about Prince?
Many well-intentioned articles make attempts to capture lightening in a bottle using a simple recipe: Reference Purple Rain, talk about the 80's mystique, use clever jargon to describe his “royalty”, “stature”, and “eccentricity” and Voila! — You’ve got yourself a Prince article.
Others do it right with flair. This project is dedicated to them; the seekers who look forward to a past when poetry would lead creative expression.
To me, Art Official Age (the album) is a poetic love letter to the Internet. Every nuanced metaphor, simile, idiom, and analogy has been lifted from a fibre-optic stream while surfing digital data. The über-contemporary narrative goes beyond sci-fi space opera towards a hyperlinked flip-board picture show; a day in the life of the World Wide Web with post-modern, self-reflective micro-narratives clicking < back < into the history of a dirty mind.
The Matrix imagery is not subtle. We’re presented with a man plugged into a data stream and a blatant message: “We are not who we think we where.”
We know Prince is intrigued by time-bending questions of reality with H.G. Wells tendencies. Now he touches upon Baudrillard’s Simulacra and Simulation without knowing it.
#AOA (a non-review), the Medium Collection, is my own output: A serial release of smooth stones skipping across my subconscious vault of Prince-inspired curve balls. I’m responding to what I see as a call-to-action to ‘find my own way home’ and it’s working. This is not an album *review* in the traditional sense, but a *response* to a concept album in the I-can-do-whatever-I-damn-well-please, I’m-an-artist sense. Each piece in the collection adheres to the next like a daisy chain through the elegant design work of Jason Franzen; visual interpretations of each piece joined collectively as a series of conceptual album releases with multi-leveled meaning. Brilliant stuff.
Taking Prince’s lead, like Alice, I’m stepping into a simulated looking glass for my own convex adventure. I’m leaning towards a better place to die, a space where I feel safe to express myself, which I believe is the point of his entire creative compendium; to encourage you to express yourself. No?
Perhaps that’s been Prince’s agenda all along in this cat and mouse chess game of his. After all, our lives are really just a figment of Prince’s simulated imagination, yes? And, we’re all just prisoners here, of our own device.
I hope you enjoy the ride.