Originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine | 05.13.10
Get Physical! Records
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An essential part of the Berlin techno landscape, Booka Shade has had no trouble racking up accolades. Walter Merziger and Arno Kammermeier are founders of one of the great electronic labels, Get Physical. It’s in large part thanks to the duo’s own productions—2006’s Movements is one of the best that techno has to offer—that the imprint is so highly regarded. Add a beloved 2008 Lollapalooza appearance and a push into the mainstream with Will.i.am sampling “Body Language,” and you get the point.
The pair’s latest sees them merely maintaining momentum. An impeccably constructed record, MORE! loses none of the sheen that makes Booka Shade a master of its art, yet it doesn’t come across as potently as the duo can. This is not to say that subtlety shouldn’t be rewarded. A song like “Regenerate” bounces with an understated oompa-loompa cadence before an intense crescendo. Later, on “Bad Love,” a rare vocal track, the Shade hits a home run with its signature soft-edged, emotive techno.
Merziger and Kammermeier clearly wanted to scrub their sound down to its essence and, to their credit, they have achieved an efficient workout. The fault is that a handful of songs don’t leave enough of an impression. “The Door” shows off a bass warble and a delightfully eerie synth melody, but it only sticks around long enough to be a tease. Set closer “This Is Not The Time” is a bit too cookie cutter. The studio whizzes set out to add another trophy to their already crowded display case, but MORE! only manages to bring them home the bronze.