Booka Shade – Cut The Strings
It shouldn’t be a shock that Booka Shade are still making some of the best electronic music on the planet. They’ve been hard at it since the early 90s and their track record speaks volumes for the standard they’ve set for themselves.
Cut The Strings is another deep exploration of the synth-heavy tech-house that this German duo have proved to be absolute masters of over the years. It’s a perfectly restrained cut of electronica that never tries to be too big or bold, relying instead on a rich palette of sounds and a more sensitive approach to portraying darkness.
There’s a sense of foreboding pumping through much of Cut The Strings. The constantly arpeggiating synths and the dense, muffled bass that pumps through its tracks offer a sense of unease and bleakness. In the title track, Troels Abrahamsen’s soulful vocal only barely alleviates any of the anxiety it harbours.
Likewise, the warped-funk of ‘Kolibri’ throws a cacophony of sounds and beats at us that ensure this record has little use as background music.
The reggae bassline, Afrobeat-aping cowbell and sci-fi synths of opening cut ‘Easy Drifter’ make the track hard to place – it could have been made any time in the past 40 years. And it’s hard to know if the discombobulating faux-pan-pipe flurry of ‘Black Crystal’ belongs at the beachside hippie market or an inner-city nightclub at 3am.
When the euphoric house synths kick in midway through ‘Tyrell’ it feels like you’re hitting light at the end of a tunnel. That brightness abates for a bit during the opening of ‘Aftermath’, but the soothing vocal of Giorgia Angiuli brings it all back down to earth.
Cut The Strings is a moving, adventurous and very addictive record. Its retrofuturistic sounds and brilliantly subdued arrangements making it a perfect record for the discerning electronic music lover.
Keep this on hand for late night, for early mornings, for long drives and for long, drawn-out moments of introspection.