The grand- daddies of electro- house cool are without a doubt, the German duo of Walter Merzinger and Arno Kammermeier. Or as they are more commonly known by educated dance floor fiends the globe over – Booka Shade.
Having only released two albums comprising solely of their own material, Momento and Movement in 2004 and 2006 respectively, the Frankfurt natives have worked and toured with a multitude of artists. After founding Get Physical Records with DJ T and M.A.N.D.Y back in 2002, Booka Shade has toured with Depeche Mode and Royksopp. Plus, their innate ability to remix has seen the likes of Moby, Hot Chip, Tiga and The Knife request their remixing prowess – which ever so subtly leads me to the topic at hand – the new DJ Kicks album, as remixed by Booka Shade.
There is something cinematic about this compilation, as reflected in it’s opening and closing tracks. From bursts of shredded electric guitar riffs via John Carpenters’ “The Bank Robbery”, to the popping rhythms of Lopazz’s “2 Fast 4 U”, the album is an eclectic mix of flowing tracks with a seaside appeal that is contractible – pulsating through your veins as swiftly as a summer breeze.
There are many tracks that demonstrate a real contemplative sensibility and depth to Booka Shade’s beats. They allow tracks to simmer, slowly building excitement, not merely permitting the song to explode prematurely like many of today’s commercial DJ’s. They mix one track into the other with unbelievable ease and parts of the album sit precariously on the edge between chill out/ electronica and house. Which makes Booka Shade such an exciting pair, and the only worthy comparison to one of the world’s most influential acts, Underworld.
From a chaotic “Drums” by The Tubes, Booka Shade slink into a Frenchy number by Brigitte Bardot and wade into their own track “Numbers”, whilst The Streets and Matthew Dear follow in hot pursuit. The metal drums of Amir Ad Fontes’ “Virtual Nature” are reminiscent of the Caribbean and Richard Hawley’s “Last Orders” gently closes the curtain on this particular DJ Kicks compilation, directed by the masterful Booka Shade.