Booka Shade, ‘DJ-Kicks’ (!K7)
The Berlin-based duo of Arno Kammermeier and Walter Merziger up the sonic intrigue on tracks by Heaven 17, Aphex Twin, Carl Craig, the Tubes (!), and others with their gospeldeep, elegantly wood-toned beats. Approaching rhythm narratively, unlike many of their peers, they crest with the Streets’ Mike Skinner sputtering, “Love’s an expensive game” on “It’s Too Late,” as if he’s reciting a working-class operatic libretto. And the transitions in the opening five-track sequence leading to Yazoo’s sweaty 1982 hit “Situation” unspool like hard-edged storytelling.