As “Big Daddy Rick”, Rick Wade already has some skin in the Ghetto Tech game. If the persistent rumors have any merit, he’s also had an invisible hand in many other records that we don’t know about. Golden Harvest is not another side project, but a new side of Rick entirely – instrumental, jazzy downtempo and chill hip hop. Wade has actually visited these territories before – check the heavy chords and MF Doom-style beats of the “Dimensional Fugitive” on his 2012 album Neverending Reflections. But this is a whole album of it, for what will be a whole label devoted to it.
However you want to classify this sound – downtempo, deep hip-hop or whatever – there’s been a real shortage of it lately. Half of the new shit sounds like an homage to the old shit and the other half is the same loop-and-a-$1.99-please philosophy that has made Tech House such a wasteland over the last five years. A lot of people in our part of the scene, where music like this fueled afterhours and after-afterhours for more than a decade, seem to have burned out after downtempo went couture in the late 1990s and early 2000s. If much of downtempo today is being made for Beatport rather than actual human beings, the hundreds of Banana Republic-branded compilations of that era made downtempo a genre associated with buying a tie rather than for turning down.
The tracks here are short, and that’s about right, as what works in a four minute burst would risk becoming tedious if stretched out to seven. They’re warm, laden with deep samples from funk, soul, many varieties of Latin music and maybe even a little space age bachelor pad tunes from Rick’s journeys through the crates. The Brian Jackson-inspired “Heavy” is an especially delicious little piece. Another rarity: there’s been great deal of attention paid to sound design and the 14 tracks hang together without becoming repetitive, making the entire album worth more than picking over a couple of tracks at a time. Music like this makes it easy to dream.