Rick Wade: Duke of Cologne

At his MySpace page, Rick Wade lists himself as being 101 years old. Well, he hasn't been around that long, but the mighty Detroit-based producer certainly has been issuing deep house tracks long enough to warrant the ‘old master' title (all the way back in 1993, he built his own studio and established his Harmonie Park label), and now Duke Of Cologne finds him returning with a three-track Yore follow-up to his fabulous 2008 full-length The Good, The Bad And The Deep.

It takes mere seconds for the title cut's deep bass-and-drum pulse to work its magic. Driven by a slinky backbeat, the tune gets its skanky kick from a wah-wah guitar figure in the background and the silky allure of classic disco-era strings. As he's done elsewhere, Wade occasionally strips the track down to its bare-bones essence, all the better to highlight the tight groove beating at its center. Helped along by a lightly strutting groove, synthesizer motifs and washes bring a more subdued brand of funk to the late-night serenade “Forever Pimp” before “Moving On” rolls out the immense thrust one has come to expect from Wade. Alongside a driving house rhythm, congas and electric piano add colourful atmosphere while a snake-charmer flute melody and high-pitched strings take turns in the spotlight. Here and elsewhere, Wade always infuses his material with his own inimitable style and personality. If there's a down-side to Duke Of Cologne, it's that the release is three tracks only, rather than a full album.

May 2010