- After a very busy year in which he put out more than a dozen records, veteran producer Rick Wade is keeping pace in early 2014, with Sweet Life his fifth release so far. It comes through Leeds-based FINA Records, and you should know what's on the menu: deep, analog house (and a touch of disco) that oozes soul.
The title track keeps things nice, easy and constantly—but gently—boiling over with blissful strings. "Jazz Militia" ups the tempo and darkens the strings, summoning the nocturnal funk that Wade is so well known for, though it does sound a bit formulaic. I'd say "The Chateau" is the best of the originals, as Wade jumps back and forth between a low-key swagger topped with cheery vocal samples and a wonderfully cinematic, keys and guitar-led instrumental. The three cuts are solid grooves that couldn't be mistaken for anyone else.
Two "Sweet Life" remixes complete the package, and wisely neither tries anything radical. Mr Beatnick's version stretches out, slides in a few shivering dub chords and squiggly synths and aims for a different sort of deep. A digital-only remix from FINA head Simon Morell and Tom Taylor trades some of the original's laidback charm for higher BPMs and a heavier approach, with a fortunately short monologue and some interesting vocal loops. Linked with Wade's strings, they help keep it classier than the usual tech house fluff.
01. Sweet Life
02. Sweet Life (Mr Beatnick Remix)
03. The Chateau
04. Jazz Militia
05. Sweet Life (Tom Taylor & Simon Morell Remix)