Booka Shade, Movements

Michaelangelo Matos

By Michaelangelo Matos

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
German electro-house at its duskiest and most delectable.

Booka Shade's "Mandarine Girl" was 2005's premier crossover club record, an electro-house charmer whose buzzing, zapping bass line is echoed and emboldened by higher-pitched synth noises, all moving in tandem at the song's mid-length climax like Claymation robots. The single's warm sound (a mix of house's humane undertow and electro's gleeful cyber-futurism) and nonchalant air helped it get onto the year-end lists of more than just DJ aficionados. Now it anchors a full album, many of whose songs work in a pleasantly similar manner. On Movements, Walter Merziger and Arno Kammermeier, the Berlin producers who record as Booka Shade, grows on you in a similarly subliminal way. Sometimes they tighten their basic formula, as on "Pong Pang," whose assertive core sounds like a rapid, bouncy thumb-piano riff that's mirrored by hi-hats and buggy computer effects; it also segues seamlessly into "Mandarine Girl." When Merziger and Kammermeier loosen up, they go all the way, as on the slap-happily electro-poppy "The Birds And The Beats/At The Window." But mostly they prefer to creep up on you, each new noise emerging unobtrusively from the corners of the sound-field, not pouncing but sidling.