Friday, 14 February 2014

Various Artists - Sunken Guidance - Appian Sounds

Five releases and counting for Appian Sounds and head-honcho Al Blayney’s A&R skills and powers of persuasion are still sharper than Julie Burchill’s tongue. Having secured highly-desirable releases already from Ethyl & Flori, Eduardo de la Calle, LAAK and others, Appian is bang with a bomb from four more sought-after debutants.

There’s a first time outing for the much-talented and erudite young American Natan H, who has popped up in the last few years on other on-trend labels such as Ethereal Sound, Batti Batti and George Fitzgerald’s ManMakeMusic. Here with VX407 Natan is again on form, this time with a more contemplative Detroit techno offering than of late. Dominated by waves of glistening synths undulating throughout and set against a broken and not too heavy-handed kick, the track is superbly subtle, simple and sublime.

In many respects, Starling Dance is of a similar genus. Produced by the excellent Irish producer Leonid (real name Paul Smith), the cut relies heavily on atmosphere and emotion, the bass a delicately restrained yet much-apparent force resulting in a track that is near-on as good as anything produced by Smith previously. And that’s saying something for a man who has previous with Sistrum and Dolly.

New York starlet Joey Anderson’s Dormency, however, strays into much darker territory. The former dancer’s track creeps, crackles and slithers menacingly and magnificently with little more than a distant bittersweet melody for company. Prima facie evidence of why Levon Vincent, Jus-Ed and DJ Qu rate him so highly.

Fellow New Yorker DJ Spider’s Anticipate The Wolves is, as might be expected of the man, more muscular and direct. Yet there is something decidedly funky about the piece despite the trademark sonic assault, with the plangent bells, reverb and general aural fog very much adding to rather than detracting from the overall vibe. A high five for Appian.

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