From their techy, trancey beginnings to their more mature post-millennial work that incorporated pop, ambient, electro, techno, and funk influences, Frankfurt, Germany house duo Booka Shade maintained an elegance of style that owed little to whatever current dance music trends were on the scene. However, before they were Booka Shade, Arno Kammermeier and Walter Merziger had an early-'90s synth pop duo called Planet Claire, which in the tradition of Underworld and Ministry, mutated into something very different after their early direction petered out following two mildly successful albums. Abandoning dance-pop in favor of heavier club beats, Kammermeier and Merziger released a number of underground dance tracks -- including the smash hit "Una Musica Senza Ritmo" under the Degeneration moniker -- before renaming their project Booka Shade and debuting with the 1995 single "Kind of Good." Another single, "Silk," was issued the following year, but the duo soon lost interest in formulaic club music and decided to reinvent themselves as movie soundtrack composers and pop producers for hire.
This phase of their career lasted for a few years but turned out to be a thoroughly depressing experience, and eventually, in 2002, Kammermeier and Merziger moved to Berlin and started their own imprint, Get Physical, alongside M.A.N.D.Y. and DJ T. In 2004, feeling that they finally had complete musical freedom, Booka Shade released their first proper album as artists, Memento. Following two more club hits in 2005, "Mandarine Girl" and "Body Language" (in collaboration with M.A.N.D.Y.), they released their second album, Movements, in 2006. It was followed by a DJ-Kicks mix in 2007 and a pair of additional albums for Get Physical, 2008's The Sun & the Neon Light, and 2010's More!. For their fifth studio album, the duo went to Manchester, England and recorded in a proper studio -- a move that recharged their creativity. That album, Eve, was released in 2013. Throughout their career, Booka Shade also maintained a separate line in high-profile remixes, including work for the Juan MacLean ("Tito's Way"), Moby ("Dream About Me"), Hot Chip ("[Just Like We] Breakdown"), the Knife ("Marble House"), and Dave Gahan ("Kingdom"). The duo returned the following year with an EP, Line of Fire which featured vocal contributions from Karin Park. The pair reciprocated by remixing her track "Pandora Drive." In 2017, Booka Shade put out their sixth full-length effort, Galvany Street. The record's overall sonic palette was a return to the new wave sound that the duo had experimented with during some of their earlier projects and collaborations. ~ Stewart Mason