Brooklyn-based electronic duo Shanghai Restoration Project describe their new single “Tactile Sonic Glide” as “a reaction to the increasingly fragmented and mindless sound-bite culture we live in”. A flurry of kalimba notes begins the piece, a fast-paced pointillist soundscape that echoes a frenetic world. Slow swells of bass and driving beats soon add depth; soothing vocals float over the top of this hypnotic concoction. Over nearly 15 minutes, the music stretches, expands, and contracts, bounteous energy moving in gentle waves. The result is not frantic, but cosmic, an expanse of wondrous melody that serves as an aural isolation tank for the overwhelmed.
Indeed, the harried are the Project’s target demographic with this “invitation to a musical meditation”, as they call it, “where thoughtful melodic development, meaningful transitions, gratifying stretches, and breathable pauses can happen”. This organic sensuality is exactly what makes “Tactile Sonic Glide” so irresistible – it’s as if, by listening, you pour through a tunnel of living electronics, celestial, blissful, alien. Sublime.
The retro-meets-futuristic vibes of “Tactile Sonic Glide” are the same ones that Dave Liang and Sun Yunfan have always embraced in their mixture of storms, street sounds, and jangling polyrhythms. Upcoming album Flashbacks in a Crystal Ball sees them putting their skills to describe life’s “aha” moments musically. “Tactile Sonic Glide” seems to bring with it the existential revelation of universal vastness, underscored by its freely moving instrumental lines. With this new single, the Shanghai Restoration Project signals its most massive creative vision to date – one that promises to entrance its audience in every possible way.
Flashbacks in a Crystal Ball is out 8 November on Undercover Culture Music and is now available for pre-order.