House music by definition has a strong connection to jazz simply because both genres focus so fundamentally on swinging rhythms. DeWalta's Wander, however, presents a brand of house music that's jazzier than most, so much so that in moments it can even be heard as a bonafide fusion of the two. The album represents a major event for Berliner David Koch (aka DeWalta) as its both his debut album and the premiere release on his Haunt Music label. The beats have more than their share of snap, and the album's nine tracks get a strong boost from the analog-acoustic elements that crop up along the way.
“The Eagle” gets things off on the good foot with a track that's got jump to spare and a jacking groove that's neatly spiked by a lithe and authoritative bass presence and creamy synth textures. As fine a scene-setter as it is, it's royally trumped by “Keep On,” a rolling, piano-driven house jam whose blissed-out house-funk is kicked up a few notches by Judith Ahrends' sultry vocal. The later vocal cut, “Barksdale (Movin On),” catches one's ear for a different reason, specifically for adding a sing-song MC turn by Canadian wordsmith Joga to its low-down groove. There's no shortage of bass-driven funk on the album. “Waltfunk” swings in a manner reminiscent of jazz, but it's ultimately more of a crisp, body-moving funk jam than anything house- or jazz-related. “The Peregrine (Second Race)” likewise finds Koch morphing a big band recording into a lighter-than-air workout that retains little trace of its sample origins. Though short, “Pace” also leaves a mark in its supple marriage of Rhodes playing and raw funk rhythmning.Listening to the fifty-seven-minute outing, one is hardly surprised to learn that Koch was a one-time Conservatory Jazz student at the Hans Eissler Music College. Though the electric piano solo might be rather rudimentary, technically speaking, it's easy to imagine that it's Joe Zawinul sitting in with DeWalta on “Right Here.” It receives a considerable boost from the presence of Koch's former classmate Achim Hilgert on bass, but isn't, in fact, the jazziest track on the album. That distinction goes to the closing “Machine Soul,” which augments its raucous, party-vibe atmosphere with another electric piano solo and a charging, acid-soaked rhythm backing. All other considerations aside, it's the pronounced jazz dimension that helps put some distance between Wander and the competition.