Artist: Booka Shade
Title: Dissonanza EP
Label: Blaufield Music
Release: Out Now!
Cat No: BFMB045
Berlin based duo Booka Shade need little introduction, having carved out a reputation over the last 15 years as one of the finest electronic live acts on the planet. Back in 2002 they helped established the seminal label Get Physical, which would help lead the invasion of fresh minimal techno and house sounds from Germany. They also saw huge success of their own through their stratospheric hits ‘Body Language’, ‘Mandarine Girl’ and ‘In White Rooms’. Since then they have released numerous studio albums toured with the likes of Depeche Mode, Hot Chip and even Kings Of Leon. They have even collaborated with China’s classical piano virtuoso Lang Lang and show no signs of slowing down in their quest to bring their own unique take on house music to the world. Here they pop up again on Berlin based label Blaufield Music where they seek to push their sounds into new territory with their Dissonanza EP.
As the title of the EP suggests, this offering sees the duo shy away from their usual affiliation with emotive melodies and shimmering synths. Instead, the pair experiment to create a more dissonant sound. In their own words “the aim was to create something that we’ve never done before, producing an EP based on half-riffs and disharmonic pad layers”. For the large part, the approach succeeds, ‘Face to Face’ opens with it’s bumping tribal rhythms but rejects melody in favour of stuttering detuned post-trance arpeggios. The tracks throbs along, before breaking down into a wall of sustained synths that growl away, hinting at some of those trademark Booka Shade melodies, before we are sucked back into the repetitive groove. ‘Pole One’ is even more out there with spiralling and distinctly un-melodic synths lines and minor piano stabs. The vibe is again trancey but minimal creating a track to get lost in dark clubs too. Finally ‘Channel K’ sees Booka Shade step up with a rolling techno influenced cut full of FM Glockenspiel style patterns and some big almost eastern influenced sounding atmospherics. It’s not exactly the Surgeon but a definite step into techno territory.
Overall with such a strong back catalogue the EP might not be Booka Shade’s brightest moment but then this was intended as a trip to the dark side and in doing so it brings new light to the duos ever-shifting sound.