"Alice Miracle" changes direction, sampling a discrete piano flutter, some vigorous strings and a downward-sloping bass line from Alice Coltrane's indeed miraculous discography (as best I can tell, all are taken from "Andromeda's Suffering," from 1973's string-laden Lord of Lords), finally slipping an unassuming beat underneath. The samples are tastefully used, an appropriation of blues and drone elements from Coltrane's music rather than a telegraphed shorthand for spirituality and soulfulness. It almost works but, to my ears, the upright bass and solemn piano make strange bedfellows for the sequenced beats which, scrupulously unassuming as they are, sound rather canned in this context. A noble effort—it seems that Zap really reaches for earnest expression of admiration—but, excepting one cresting beatless passage, the results are more novel than affecting. Something of a departure from what we usually hear from Zap, it doesn't really blend with the rest of the EP either.
The flip plays it straighter. "Mon 16.46" is insistent, futuristic house of excellent quality, with an addictive worming bass line, a haze of trembling pads, and minimal piano accents. As with "Spain," Zap sounds both more polished and more at ease than ever before. The bright-eyed "Can't Wait for Snow" rounds out the set, showcasing Zap's flair for infectious whimsy. Sweet scales run up and down over a shiny electro base for something cheerful and grooving at the same time.
All told, Outside features two top-notch cuts of sleek tech-house, and a couple value-added bonuses sure to find admirers as well. It's a highlight in an Uzuri catalog that already boasts a couple of greats, and it's definitely where I'd direct anyone new to Anton Zap.