Soutine Oz

Soutine Oz
8
Out of Florence, Italy comes brand new label, Oltrarno Recordings, which is supposedly named after "an ancient neighbourhood where merchants, artisans and artists were struggling against the sleepiness for centuries." Ironically, the imprint itself couldn't be further from ancient — in fact, it's producing some of the freshest house cuts around — and considering Soutine's infectious 4/4 grooves, any thoughts of sleepiness are quickly forgotten.

The EP may start off with some sinister flurries on "Dreams," but these soon give way to playful keys and a delightfully busy swarm of 8-bit blips. Here, and throughout Oz, Soutine eases the listener in with all the patience and nimbleness of a safe cracker. His approach is so subtle that you scarcely notice yourself dancing in your chair until it's too late; now you're getting looks on the bus. As one track fades away, you think you're more aware now, more privy to the ruse, but two minutes into the next track and your shoulders have started gyrating again, despite your best efforts to stay still. 

"Run in the Jungle" is particularly sneaky in this way, kicking off like a floating Four Tet track, but a couple of minutes in and your head's nodding involuntarily — by minute three you've decided to get off at the next stop, no matter where you are, because you've definitely made some stupid, scrunched-up faces. Now, in the relative obscurity of whatever street you seem to have landed on, you're free to completely cut a rug to Oz's runaway highlight "Spacehopper," a track with impossibly satisfying funk squelches that are more than enough to carry you home.

(Oltrarno)