Appian: Chatter EP (FINA)
Appian’s latest on the FINA imprint is a solid collection of three techy tracks plus a remix. I’d vouch that “Chatter” as the leading track has the most broad appeal, with more of a tech house flavor in its syncopated chords and square, staccato bassline, a familiar-sounding arrangement that goes down smooth. Its jaunty synth-pan lead is a nice touch, lending more personality and giving it a friendlier edge; it’d be a great daytime crowdpleaser. But it’s the rest of this EP that I find much more compelling and interesting. The next two cuts are much techier, eschewing much of the house flavor of the opening cut. “Astronomer” fully recaptures the melodic glory of Warp’s Artificial Intelligence era, with sweeping, filtered pads and a more mid-tempo swagger. It also feels like it’s heavy on mids, lacking much of a deep low-end, also lending it a sense of reverence.
That’s a distinction from “Operator,” the tightest cut of the three, moving at a much faster clip having a nice hefty kick with some deep punch. The bassline still tips its hat to the sounds of yore, this time capturing some of the vintage bleep of early Detroit like Juan Atkins’ Model 500 or Derrick May. It’s a really clean groove from start to finish, sporting that sleek finish that so much of Detroit’s best techno shares without sounding merely nostalgic. Monty Luke turns in a bonus remix of “Operator,” and he shifts focus from its clean techno origins to a chunkier tech house sound. It’s significantly different, with a more melodic arrangement that drifts toward Balearic house while the original’s vague pads float by underneath, but it’s solid, diversifying the record with different sounds for different occasions.