Recap: Performance at The Shelter in Shanghai

A brief review in photos of my performance last Friday at The Shelter.

The Shelter is actually in a converted bomb shelter, and to get there one descends a long narrow staircase and enters this cave-like hallway:

Inside the main club space, it is mostly dark, save for a few small lights and these video screens broadcasting live from the DJ booth:

The above photo shows my setup via the video camera. We can take a closer look at on the DJ platform itself.

As described in the previous post, I combined traditional Chinese musical instruments with electronics, blending old and new. In the above image you can see (left to right) a prayer bowl, a small bell, a gong, and temple blocks (to the right of the laptop). Some of my Chinese friends and colleagues were blown away by the idea that one can combine the different elements to make a single type of music.

The performance itself went quite well, and just about everything worked as planned. If there was one thing that was unfortunate, it was that 10:30 is quite “early” in terms of Shanghai nightlife, so there were not that many people in attendance yet. But you always play for the people who are there, and it was a new experience for all of us.

The club did fill up later on during the DJ sets that followed, and I stuck around to hear most of them – it seems this is one of the main places in the city to hear more underground or unusual music, be it live electronics or DJs. That was an adventure in and of itself, but a story for another time.

I did also make an audio recording and a video of the performance, which I have not had a chance to review yet. Look for at least short excerpts of both in the future.

Friday Night Performance at The Shelter in Shanghai

Here are the details on the show I’m playing in Shanghai in Friday night:


@ The Shelter
5 Yongfu Lu, near Fuxing Xi Lu, Shanghai

Friday, March 6, 2009

Amar Chaudhary, Uprooted Sunshine, V-nutz, Tootekool, Ben Huang, Michael Cai, Ozone…

* Celebrating the release of the Pause:Music Mix CD#2, the Uprooted Sunshine crew bring you a mad mash of the Jamaican sounds of reggae and dance-hall with new original vocals by ChaCha and MC Didje, put together by prime selecta Blaise Deville. There’s a limited number of free CDs, so come early to get yours!

* The man who rocked you on the first Pause:Music Mix CD, Ben Huang, returns after a long stay in Beijing, to bring you his latest eclectic and cutting-edge techno mix.

* Special guest Amar Chaudhary, from San Francisco, on his first performance ever in China. Amar Chaudhary is a veteran sound artist who makes his own instruments and plays a live set that’ll crack your head open. (Starts at 10:30pm sharp!!)

* We’ll also have Tootekool, Ozone, Michael Cai, V-Nutz bringing you everything from rock to alternative hip hop, to breakcore and drum-n-bass. Look out!

* It’s only 30 RMB at the door and the funds go to supporting and developing the local music scene through a variety of projects.

More info can be found here, or at facebook for those so inclined.

So…now I actually have to finish putting together a show. I have managed to put together a modest setup based on gear I brought with me, a few replacements (thanks Behringer for not making your mixer power supplies 220V compatibile), and several Chinese percussion instruments I have acquired during this trip:

The large bowl is very resonant and will be used to introduce the set. The interplay of the various bells and gongs with bell-like sounds on the Evolver will be the main elements, interrupted by more standard electronic sounds from the Evolver and the Kaos pad, as well some down-tempo beat-based sections.

It has been a bit of a challenge to find time to think creatively, while contending with work and some of the lingering effects of the time difference. I went back to the first day in Shanghai and it’s big city energy for inspiration, and some of the photos that I took, even if the music itself doesn’t seem to reflect that sonically.