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Growing up in Metro-Detroit, and having recently played on the 'Made in Detroit' stage at this year's Movement Festival, you'd have a fair idea of what to expect from Appian. Indeed, the influence of the Motor City's signature sound on much of the burgeoning talent's output is unmistakable. Yet Appian's forthcoming release 'Chatter EP' on FINA Records is a testament to his varied and experimental production style; a distinctive sound borne out of inspirations as varied as funk, experimental electronica, disco, "80s stuff", early house, and Aphex Twin.
First up, Appian takes funk staples into the deep house realm with dexterity and class with the EP's title track. The strong and rhythmic electric bass and Hammond organ-esque chords simply ooze a feel good funk and lock you in from the get go. The foregrounded filtered cymbals give the snappy 4/4 beat a jazzy twist and help drive this unquestionably contagious, warm and upbeat groove forward. All in all, an organic and energised house jam, fit for all kinds of shoulder shrugging, finger clicking, side stepping goodness.
The suitably titled 'Astronomer' meanwhile is light years away from the lead track in terms of its vibe. Feel good, perhaps, however the long drawn out, and warped synths hypnotise from the offset whilst the sporadic and gently melodic chords soften the mood, evoking feelings of weightlessness and calm. The gradual layering of experimental blends of beats and analogue bleeps transport to infinite plains, slowly building in momentum to a kind of warped, futuristic crescendo. An equally well crafted composition but definitely suited to star gazing than shoulder shrugging.
On the flip side, Appian mixes it up again. 'Operator' shares many of the same abstract characteristics as 'Astronomer' but the introduction of industrial stabs and more robotic analogues over a back drop of an extended synth, makes it an experimental take on a more classic, raw Detroit sound.
Last up and unsurprisingly, Planet E's legendary Monty Luke showcases his freethinking and flamboyant production prowess with a bad ass reworking of 'Operator'. He cleverly complements the original's synths by added another leading loop which, along with the staccatoed beats and crisp high-hats on the off, step up Appian's offering a gear or two. By bringing the backdrop more to the fore and piling on percussion and atmospheric blasts he achieves a frenzied fusion of sounds that is sure to bring a palpable energy to the dance floor.
A classy EP from some of Detroit's finest emerging and established talent. Worth chatting about.
Cyclonix, Simon Morell (FINA RECORDS), Monty Luke, Corbi, Mark Graham (Contrast-Wax), The Owl, Appian, Anna Wall, Roberto S, Khotin, Ketsba (Rough House Rosie), DUBWERKE, Aleqs Notal, Terrence Pearce, Homework
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