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Djang San's Electronic Music (Not) for Chinese Restaurants
A meta commentary on the thrilling, eccentric daily lives of Chinese people as they socialize in restaurants
By Jiun-Wen (Bob) Teoh
(more articles from this author)
2013-03-10
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French artist Djang San, aka Zhang Si'an, aka Jean Sebastian, breaks away from his previous projects to release his solo album, "Electronic Music for Chinese Restaurants". As the lead guitarist for the Amazing Insurance Salesman, Djang San has experimented with folk, jazz, and rock ever since arriving in China over a decade ago, but his new album suggests that he still has a few tricks up his sleeves.

Having stayed in China for 12 years, Djang San is no longer the "foreigner". Instead, his experiences allow him to comment and satirize the social and cultural practices he witnesses daily in his album. "Chinese Restaurant" is not made for restaurants. It is, in fact, a meta commentary on the thrilling, eccentric daily lives of Chinese people as they socialize in restaurants.

Djang San does not care for rules and restrictions, and his flexibility is clearly expressed in this album. In one of his singles, you hear the sound of light conversation mixed with folk guitar and electronica, reminiscent of the city's chaos and vitality. In the next, a young girl bumbles over a story, forcing us back to reality. Finally, we are taken a couple decades back into an old Chinese restaurant, where musicians are playing for tired travelers.

For Djang, music is not fixed; it is malleable and spontaneous. In his own words: "I instill the new things I learn everyday into my music." Like a young child, Djang's thirst and curiosity for the new and exciting is strongly reflected in "Chinese Restaurants", making it a refreshing change in an age of repetition.


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