I first blogged about Dave Liang’s The Shanghai Restoration Project last May. Well, thanks to Arjan’s music blog ArjanWrites.com, a free MP3 of “Preface” is available for download from The Shanghai Restoration Project’s follow-up album, Story of a City.
I downloaded the second album, and I immediately like it more than the first. Liang’s first album had a definite goal in mind – combine eastern samples with electronica/hip hop beats, and the results came out mixed; it’s obvious that Liang is a solid music producer, but the album felt monotonous after a couple of tracks. (“Okay, yes, it IS an erhu. WE GET IT.”) And some of lyrics? Well, let’s just say Liang is a stronger producer than he is a songwriter. (My friend Jesse after listening to the song “All Rise”: “Why was she singing about four eyes for five minutes?”)
Story of a City still definitely has the downtempo lounge with Chinese instruments thing going on. But this time around, the Asian instruments and the chanting are a bit more subtle, used as accents instead of as a focal piece. And while there are some tracks where I find myself reaching for the “next track” button, there are some gems in there, including a freestyle by Natural Fact of Brooklyn hip-hop group Unconscious Logic, embedded here:
You can download the entire album in MP3 format at Amazon.com.