Dark Ascension


A decade after his first 12” release on his Harmonie Park label, prolific and influential Detroit house producer Rick Wade released his debut album in 2004. It’s a well-named album, taking a minimal, low-key approach to the deep house template. There’s not many big peaks and troughs or builds and breaks here, instead he programs solid arrangements that are purely dance floor focused, creating slow burn, nocturnal, underground jams that do indeed provide a sense of ascension, and with a definite dark atmosphere. The first two tracks expertly meld live instrumentation and percussion into, respectively, a Bossa nova and a samba-influenced house track, each partly retro, partly futurist, but the titles of the next two tracks — “Grimm” and “Cold Space” — signal the eerie, mournful mood he explores for the rest of the album. Almost entirely devoid of any vocals and made purely from synthetic elements, the tracks are covered in a highly reflective sheen and imbued with a low-level lonely, yearning atmosphere that embodies the spirit, if not the thud or intensity, of Detroit techno.

Harold Heath