Shanghai Restoration Project

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The Shanghai Restoration Project
SRP Live China.jpg
Background information
Origin New York City
Genres Hip hop, electronica, experimental, trance
Years active 2006–present
Labels Undercover Culture Music
Members Dave Liang

The Shanghai Restoration Project (SRP) is a contemporary electronic music group formed by Chinese American producer Dave Liang. The group's first eponymous release, inspired by the Shanghai jazz bands of the 1930s, combines traditional Chinese instruments with hip hop and electronica.

Early life[edit]

Producer Dave Liang was born in Lawrence, Kansas and grew up in Upstate New York. He started learning classical piano at an early age but transitioned towards jazz after hearing Miles Davis' "So What" in high school. He attended college at Harvard and upon graduation moved to NYC to work as a consultant. After work he would spend his evenings looking for jazz gigs at various bars.[1]


In 2003, Liang reconnected with his college classmate Ryan Leslie, who was working as a producer with Bad Boy Records. He quit his day job and began apprenticing with Leslie, "learning his way around drum machines and mixing desks and devouring a history of hip-hop that he had missed the first time around."[1] He sold his first song to R&B singer Carl Thomas. Soon he ventured off on his own to create his own group and The Shanghai Restoration Project was born.


SRP debuted as MSN Music's "New Artist of the Week" in January 2006, reaching #1 on the site's Top 100 Electronic Albums Chart that month. The release gained recognition globally, rising to the top 10 in several electronic charts, including Amazon, iTunes, and MSN Music. The first track from the debut album, "Introduction (1936)," was selected as the theme song for a worldwide TV advertising campaign for Kenzo Parfums (a division of Louis Vuitton) in early 2007.

In late 2007, SRP partnered with China Record Corporation (the Chinese government's record label) to release Remixed and Restored Vol. 1, a project remixing select classic Chinese hits from 1930s Shanghai.

In 2008, SRP's Instrumentals: Day & Night, a 24 song soundtrack for modern day Shanghai, was featured on NPR.[2] Several songs were regularly featured during BBC's coverage of the Beijing Olympics.[3]

In 2009, SRP visited Sichuan, China with Abigail Washburn to create a folk-electronic record called Afterquake to raise awareness for victims of the Sichuan earthquakes. The two artists partnered with Sichuan Quake Relief and discussed their work on NPR All Things Considered,[4] The San Francisco Chronicle,[5] and NY Times.[6]

In 2010, SRP earned a New York Emmy Award for the special entertainment news coverage of "New York 360 Angle: Shanghai Restoration Project" produced by Limei Wang. That year, SRP partnered with the Chinese creative community site Neocha to release eXpo, a compilation of Chinese electronic artists that was highlighted in The Fader,[7],[8] and PRI's The World.[9]

In 2011, SRP released Little Dragon Tales, a collection of classic Chinese children's songs set to electronic and hip-hop beats. The album was recommended by Jeff Yang as the "year’s best culture-savvy stocking stuffer" in the Wall Street Journal.[10] Songs from the album were also featured on compilations released by Starbucks and Putumayo.

In 2012, SRP collaborated with Gingger Shankar and filmmaker Mridu Chandra on Himalaya Song, a live film project that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in the New Frontier category. It was named one of the "10 best films at Sundance" by Rolling Stone.[11]

In 2014, SRP released The Classics, a collection of 1930s and 1940s Shanghai jazz standards remade in an electronic format. The album features vocals from Shanghai jazz vocalist Zhang Le and was featured on both NPR's All Things Considered[12] and Last Call with Carson Daly. The group embarked on a multi-city tour of China, where the performance was synchronized to projected animations created by some of China’s leading visual artists. In addition, the group performed at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival[13] and the Toronto's Harbourfront Centre.[14]

In 2015, SRP collaborated with Gingger Shankar and visual artist Sun Yunfan on Nari, a multimedia performance project commemorating the lives of Viji and Lakshmi Shankar. The project debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival and excerpts were performed at the American Museum of Natural History and MASS MoCA.[15] The U.S. premiere of Nari will take place at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival.[16]


  • "The Shanghai Restoration Project" (2006, Undercover Culture Music)
  • "Reinterpretations" (2006, Undercover Culture Music)
  • "Remixed and Restored" (2007, China Records)
  • "Story of a City" (2008, Undercover Culture Music)
  • "Instrumentals: Day & Night" (2008, Undercover Culture Music)
  • "Zodiac" (2009, Undercover Culture Music)
  • "Afterquake" with Abigail Washburn (2009, Afterquake Music)
  • "eXpo" with Neocha (2010, Undercover Culture Music & Neocha)
  • "Little Dragon Tales: Chinese Children's Songs" (2011, Cheng & Tsui)
  • "Himalaya Song" with Gingger Shankar (2012, Dream Louder & Undercover Culture Music)
  • "Pictures in Motion" (2013, Undercover Culture Music)
  • "The Classics" with Zhang Le (2014, Undercover Culture Music)
  • "What's up with That?" with Lei Lei (2016, Undercover Culture Music)

Other projects[edit]

The Shanghai Restoration Project has also produced releases for various artists including Universal J artist MEG, Yamaha J-pop artist Miu Sakamoto, electro pop artist Di Johnston, singer-songwriter Heath Brandon, and Japanese jazz artist Emi Meyer. Many of these releases reached #1 on various iTunes charts around the world in their respective genres.


Track Use Year
Lu Xun Starbucks "World is China" Compilation 2011
Miss Shanghai Starbucks "World is China" Compilation 2011
Day (iLoop from eXpo) Nike/FADER podcast 2009
Segue (Di Johnston) TIM commercial (Brazil) 2009
Jade Buddha Temple The L Word (Showtime) 2009
Babylon of the Occident Children of Winter (film) 2009
Miss Shanghai The L Word (Showtime) 2009
The Bund BBC Olympic Broadcast coverage 2008
Babylon of the Orient NBC Olympic Broadcast coverage 2008
Sugar Daddy (Di Johnston) Christian Dior Haute Couture Fall Winter 2008/2009 Runway Show 2008
Movement Diet Coke promotion 2008
Segue (Di Johnston) Dove commercial (US) 2008
Lu Xun (Watch Me Dance) Rhapsody/TiVo promotion 2007
Segue (Di Johnston) iTunes Japan "Single of the Week" 2007
Introduction (1936) LVMH / Flower by Kenzo commercial (Europe/Latin America) 2007
Jade Buddha Temple iTunes Japan "Single of the Week" 2006
Babylon of the Orient Sandisk promotion 2006
The Bund The Evidence (ABC) 2006


  1. ^ a b "Shanghai Restoration Project: Art and Assimilation". Wondering Sound. Retrieved 2015-12-28. 
  2. ^ "Shanghai Restoration Project: Hybrid Backbeats". Retrieved 2015-12-28. 
  3. ^ "Ask us about: Music details". BBC. 2008-12-12. Retrieved 2015-12-28. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "The Sichuan Restoration Project / Electronica hit blends East and West, raw and polished, old and new". SFGate. Retrieved 2015-12-28. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Interview: The Shanghai Restoration Project and Neocha on Electronic Music from China". The FADER. Retrieved 2015-12-28. 
  8. ^ "Shanghai Restoration Project Mines Chinese Electronica". WIRED. Retrieved 2015-12-28. 
  9. ^ "Public Radio International". Public Radio International. Retrieved 2015-12-28. 
  10. ^ "Tao Jones: The ‘Grinch Teach’". WSJ Blogs - Speakeasy. 2011-12-10. Retrieved 2015-12-28. 
  11. ^ "'Himalaya Song' - The 10 Best Music Films at Sundance 2012". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2015-12-28. 
  12. ^ "Remaking All That Jazz From Shanghai's Lost Era". Retrieved 2015-12-28. 
  13. ^ "Smithsonian Folklife Festival - The Shanghai Restoration Project". Retrieved 2015-12-28. 
  14. ^ "Music: Shanghai Restoration Project". Harbourfront Centre. Retrieved 2015-12-28. 
  15. ^ "MASS MoCA | Museum of Contemporary Art presents: Nari in our Hunter Center on Saturday, December 12, 8pm". Retrieved 2015-12-28. 
  16. ^ "Sundance: Ridley Scott's 'Martian VR Experience,' Kendrick Lamar-Scored Installation to Debut". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2015-12-28. 

External links[edit]