Over the course of his career, longstanding Moscow beat maestro OL has taken his sound down more than a few leftfield turns. Where his equally compelling Muscovite mates 813 and Lapti have been more stylistically consistent, OL has wandered all over the spectrum, offering everything from the slow-motion soul of cuts like "IWM" to the deeper, more subtle sounds of his latest effort, the vinyl-only Make Things. OL has a knack for absorbing current trends, but this tendency doesn't feel derivative; his music is more like a nebulous hodgepodge that befits his status as a SoundCloud producer. That said, with just two tracks, Make Things comes across as too little of a potentially good thing.
Regardless, OL's new EP presents some invigorating, subtly danceable material, its two tunes both working with the same basic tools of arrangement. In short, both songs have been built with the same kit, and both leave tons of room for each pad, kick, and keyboard to breathe. The title track is intriguing from the outset, opening up with strong, stabbing synth chords and acrobatic usages of a standard fist-pumping vocal sample before a start-stop beat comes in to guide things along. "Get Depressed" picks up in the lead track's echoes, only the stutter has been replaced by a four-to-the-floor beat and complemented with open rides and retreating 808 claps, the entire composition topped by a smoky layer of hiss. OL tastefully turns his synth stabs into organ licks, and a pointed, gloomy bass number slowly swaggers its way out.
At the EP's end, however, it's likely that many listeners will be left wanting more. OL's use of negative space and darker palettes on Make Things should excite beat-scene heads and house-music aficionados alike, but the momentum from these tunes dead ends right as it's picking up steam. After last year's meatier Body Varial, this release seems abbreviated, and one can't help but excitedly wonder how OL would have fared if he had chosen to properly stretch his legs beyond the 10-minute mark.