Booka Shade: DJ Kicks

Thought recent DJ Kicks outings by Henrik Schwarz and Hot Chip pushed eclecticism as far as it can go? Try again: Booka Shade's contribution to the series establishes a new benchmark by including acts fondly remembered (‘80s electro-pop pioneers Yazoo and Heaven 17), others gladly forgotten (The Tubes), in addition to big name dance and electronic artists (Carl Craig, Matthew Dear, Aphex Twin). There are even cinematic interludes courtesy of director John Carpenter, and a stirring nightcap by Richard Hawley (“Last Order”).

After a restrained pop intro that spotlights the Eno-led vocals of Passengers' “Different Kind Of Blue” (lifted from that Original Soundtrack Vol.1 curiosity issued by U2 in 1995), the mix gathers steam with the orchestral soul-jazz swing of Noze's “Slum Girl” and the storming grooves of Cerrone's “In The Smoke” and Ben Westbeech's sleek “Hang Around.” Classic melodic AFX appears via “Alberto Balsam” and special mention must be made too of Quarion (aka Ianeq) who's represented by two deep cuts, the clanging “Play Your Part” and vibrant “Karasu.” Two Booka Shade exclusives, “Estoril,” and “Numbers,” boost the mix (the latter even featuring vocals), as do Carl Craig's soaring “Landcruising” and Hot Chip's dreamy re-work of Dear's “Don And Sherrie.”

As you've no doubt guessed, this first mix compilation by Berlin-based Get Physical partners Arno Kammermeier and Walter Merziger isn't a conventional ‘dance' mix at all but an eccentric, time-traveling journey (some material resurrected from decades past and others heard for the first time) that's more geared towards listening than non-stop dancing. Even so, most of the scenery's captivating (not all: does anyone really need to hear Brigitte Bardot's tuneless warble in “Contact”?) and, though it should split apart at the seams, it actually holds together rather well in large part due to the producers' skilled handling of sequencing and transitions. Kammermeier and Merziger sometimes dramatically add to the tracks too, and therefore function more like remixers than curators on a track like The Streets' “It's Too Late.”

November 2007