Vincent Chen really wants to holla at the Shanghai Restoration Project:

David Liang, Shanghai Restoration Project: Special Edition (2007), Jazz/Hip Hop Fusion

My “Skip Next Track” button has been getting a lot of use lately, thanks to the Shanghai Restoration Project. Their album is a fusion of traditional Chinese instrumentals with Hip Hop and Jazz elements. Good theory. But in this case, it failed in execution.

Almost ever song in the playlist is about two minutes too long. They produce repetitive racket at best, and are simply boring at worst. For example, the sixth and fourteenth track can be summarized by two lines: “Lemme holla at you…” and “La la la”. For eight minutes.

The entire project just seems lazily made, hinted by the overuse of loops and the jam sessions of measures and measures of the same material. It wouldn’t be surprising to find this album or others of its quality in a $1 value bin of a record store. It plays like a soundtrack to a terrible movie.

The idea of mixing a Pipa string assortment with an ill walking bassline and jazz drums sounds promising, and there are moments of potential (like “Jade Buddha Temple”) but unfortunately the dream we conjure fizzles after half a listening. Maybe next time.

vincent chen