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Shanghai Restoration Project Brave New World Symphony

If there was ever a title apt for the end of a rather rough 2020, it’s the latest long player from the electronic duo of Dave Liang and Sun Yunfan, AKA Shanghai Restoration Project.

Released: 11 December 2020
Brave New World Symphony

Hopping across a multitude of different influences, the Brooklyn-based pair have used lockdown as a time to deliver a vibrant, moving, dancefloor friendly-record that would go down well at any end of year party – if we have any, that is.

‘Involuntary Prophet’ is the definite standout moment, as Liang and Yunfan masterfully deliver an emotive, piano-driven deep house cut that’s as good as anything 2020 has offered up. There are moments of lullaby calmness as ‘Hart Island Hymn’ employs mostly harmonious vocal overlays and shows what you can do with minimal instruments and a beautiful voice. It’s almost classic Morricone at times.

‘Positive Disintegration’ combines old-school jazz sensibilities with modern breaks and beats for the 2020 after party. The record never breaks into a sweat, although it’s got a lot going on. From the quirky ‘Zoom Christmas’ to the pop-dance vocal sound of ‘Present Continuous’, it never feels rushed.

You’re never too far from the pair’s oriental influences and that’s most obvious with ‘Night Odyssey’, a rare example of a time-stretched vocal actually working. The duo created this collection of songs as their own reaction to the individual and societal changes they observed during the past year, and it shows. It’s also quite clearly a record for hopefully happier times in 2021.