The Shanghai Restoration Project
The Shanghai Restoration Project is a somewhat weighty fusion concept that actually works. And we're not just talking about the sound, although that is very compelling: an artful and, more significantly, listenable and danceable mashup of hip-hop, electronic dance beats, and Chinese traditional and folk instrumentals and melodies that's inspired by (and sometimes samples) the East-meets-West Shanghai jazz bands of the 1930s. Whew! But it works, and it gets the group work. The brain child of Chinese American producer Dave Liang, Shanghai Restoration Project has released three studio albums, two collections of their instrumental cuts, and a remix album since its inception in 2006. The group has also lent its remixing skills to several interesting projects, including a partnership with China Record Corporation (the Chinese government's label) formed to rework recordings of classic Chinese pop and jazz from 1930s Shanghai. Even if you don't regularly peruse China Records' catalogue, however, you have likely heard the Project's ambient, evocative work in commercials for Microsoft, Louis Vuitton and TiVo, among others.