As veteran German duo, Booka Shade, return with their brand-new long player, ‘Cut the Strings’, The Waveform Transmitter‘s Simon Huxtable take a listen to what puts the two producers at the zenith point of their game.
Booka Shade. Even the mere mention of their name gives any self-respecting music fan chills. The German duo have done something that the vast majority of similarly famous artists haven’t been able to do and that’s maintain their top-spot placing with fantastic albums and amazing live shows. For the best part of 30 years.
In a recent interview to promote their last album (Galvany Street) with ticketing giants, Skiddle, they made mention of exploring non-dance roots for new direction: “We take inspiration from lots of modern music. Diplo has some good stuff, it’s very commercial but still good. Flume too.” It’s one of the many reasons they’ve survived so long; a combination of pop-culture referencing, good original music and an openness to experiment.
Their biggest hit, ‘Body Language’ (or more specifically, that bassline) has been used in a million bootlegs and mashups, but more recently co-oped (with permission) by Jax Jones feat. RAYE for You Don’t Know Me. One of many stand out moments for the German duo never afraid to take a chance.
With the release of the first single – also called ‘Cut The Strings’ – a few weeks ago, the blueprint for this, their tenth album was cast. Quality tech house with the right amount of emotion and energy and not a cookie cutter in sight. Indeed, after the success of fellow Dane, Kolsch’s 2012 deep houser ‘All That Matters’ it was a nice surprise to hear the dulcet tones of Troels Abrahamsen again. He’s very much my modern day Robert Owens.
And having been a music fan since my teens, songs are in my DNA but of late, the underground dance music anthem I grew up with has seldom come along. ‘Cut The Strings’ changes that; it’s a proper end-of-the-night singalong anthem. It’s a theme carried through the album as the duo open things up and work with more non-dance artists and producers than before. The resulting album feels more complete than previous offerings.
There’s an ebb and flow: different tempos and rhythms exploring juxtaposed areas of the psyche, like the opening calm of ‘Easy Drifter’ or the wildly Balearic ‘Confessions’ and Burial-esque and breaksy ‘Tyrell’. The club cuts are there too, like the epic ‘Night Surfing’ or the Daft Punk-inspired Disco House of ‘Kolibri’ and even the loopy epicness of ‘Black Crystal’.
For me personally, this is by far the most interesting electronic album in a long while. It’s simply mesmerising from start to finish and a true benchmark of both Booka Shade’s class and dance music’s ability to move with the times. Booka Shade’s ‘Cut The Strings’ LP is out on Blaufield 6th April 2018.
Cut The Strings feat. Troels Abrahamsen
Lost feat. Daniel Spencer
Aftermath feat. Giorgia Angiuli