Booka Shade - Numbers
Wed 9th Jan, 2008 Music Reviewsin
Berlin-based electronic duo Booka Shade (Arno Kammermeier and Walter Merziger) have turned their hand to many musical ventures since their arrival on the scene in the early 90’s but this EP stems from something new for the guys: a DJ mix album. The Numbers EP, released globally on disc and 12” coincides with the release of Booka Shade DJ Kicks, their contribution to the 28 strong mix disc series for !K7 with previous contributors including Hot Chip, Annie, Four Tet, Nightmares On Wax and Tiga. The EP showcases the duos own tracks that appear on the mix album, Numbers and Estoril.
The EP kicks off with the Radio Edit of Numbers, Booka Shade’s first real venture into vocals inspired by the DJ Kicks mix. The sublime electro house feel holds the dulcet vocals and array of 80’s synth sounds together for a pleasant listen in your lounge-room but I dare say this edit won’t make it to dance-floors.
The Extended Vocal Mix of Numbers takes the rather pedestrian track and brings it to the realm of sophisticated tech-soul but keeps the same eerie undercurrent consistent to the original edit. Meanwhile, Estoril is reminiscent of Underworld at their most experimental. Making exquisite use of the space afforded them, it ebbs and flows like the best techno.
Finally, the Club Mix of Numbers hits the mark. This subterranean techno track, heavily influenced by the legacy of Detroits founding fathers such as Derrick May and Juan Atkins builds with supreme confidence before finally exploding into a cavalcade of swooping synths and malevolent beats.
Overall, nothing too stand out here as an EP but it does make a lot more sense when listened to in the context of the DJ Kicks release for which these tracks were intended.