It has not been a favorable year for Booka Shade. Even though they're clearly masters of live performance (their electrifying set at Montreal's Osheaga Festival last summer, counter-intuitively stuck between showcases from MGMT and CSS, was the definite highlight of the day as far as I was concerned), their ill-received The Sun & The Neon Light album failed to leave the indelible mark Movements did two years prior. Studio-wise, it's almost as if Walter and Arno weren't sure it they wanted to take you to the club or spend an evening in a candlelit bubble bath together. So, how do they close out 2008? Digitally re-release "the slow songs" from said disappointing album and call them Cinematic Shades edits. Needless to say, it is a confusing move that won't do anything to improve Booka Shade's offbeat year.
Avid fans will be excited to see "Paper Plane," which is technically the only new song here. It's most likely a Sun & Neon Light leftover, though, and is mostly noticeable for its mixing of a moaning male, a cooing female back singer and something that sounds like a sheep bleating. (Needless to say, it won't make you want to go back to "Comacabana" and say whoa.) Then again, there is a Trentemøller remix of "Outskirts," which recalls Anders' own "Take Me Under Your Skin," which isn't a bad thing at all. This track alone is worth the (slightly exaggerated) admission price, although it would have made more sense to release it as a B-side or an exclusive Get Digital cut. And there's also the Larry Gold string version of "Night Falls." Even though you might already knew this one from 2007's 5 Years Get Physical, it's the only moment where you get the feeling the re-interpretation showcases exactly what they had in mind for Cinematic Shades; it also curiously makes you want to hear what "Mandarine Girl" would sound like with an uplifting string quartet.
But why tracks such as "Solo City," "The Sun & The Neon Light," and "You Don't Know What You Mean to Me (J's Lullaby)" are popping up here again in the same shape they did six months ago is puzzling at best, and annoying at worst—especially when they were already available digitally anyway. Even the supposedly updated "Cinematic Shades" edits of "Vertigo" and "Moonstruck," two tracks originally released in 2004, have nothing new to offer, thus making the very existence of this compilation even more peculiar. Arrays into the slower, home-listening, "cinematographic" corners of the electronic music world isn't reproachable per se. In fact, Booka Shade even introduced Memento, their first album, as the imaginary soundtrack to the movie of the same name. But hasn't anyone with a minute to kill and an MP3 player made their own approximation of this compilation already?
Tracklist: Booka Shade - Cinematic Shades (The Slow Songs)01. Outskirts (Trentemøller Remix)
02. Solo City
03. Night Falls (Larry Gold’s ’Night Falls Over Philly’ String Version)
04. Outskirts (Cinematic Shades Edit)
05. Hallelujah USA
06. Moonstruck (Cinematic Shades Edit)
07. Paper Plane
08. Vertigo (Cinematic Shades Edit)
09. At The Window (Cinematic Shades Edit)
10. Lost High (Cinematic Shades Edit)
11. 16 MM (Cinematic Shades Edit)
12. The Sun & The Neon Light
13. You Don’t Know What You Mean To Me (J’s Lullaby)
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