Release Date: May 27, 2008
Record label: Get Physical
On their third official full-length, German duo Booka Shade get serious about the album format and deliver a set of rainy-day tracks influenced by the Berlin (Tangerine Dream) and Düsseldorf (Cluster) schools of electronic music with a touch of Giorgio Moroder, especially the man's Midnight Express soundtrack. At worst, like on the opening "Outskirts," reverence for these classic tones and an overwhelming desire to be earnest make the music surprising lifeless. Half of The Sun & the Neon Light ends up sounding like an entry in the Mind's Eye computer animation video series, where slick, serviceable sounds provide pleasant backdrops for futuristic dreaming.
In 2006, Booka Shade released the impossibly good Movements, in which they straddled the lines of hook-heavy house and the “thinking man” attention to deal of techno, managing to equally satisfy dancers and listeners at home. Booka Shade didn’t break new ground or shape the future landscape of dance music; they simply created a batch of songs whose tricks didn’t stale. Looking back, they still thrill and surprise just as much as they ever did.
Inching ever closer to crossover success, Booka Shade has been the friendlier – though certainly not smiley – face of contemporary techno. Their arrangements are usually warm and welcoming, hinging on sing-song hooks and a supple, meaty throb. But the third full-length from Arno Kammermeier and Walter Merziger finds the duo self-consciously pursuing an "album" sort of album.