Awanto 3 ‘Opel Mantra’

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Title: Opel Mantra Part 1
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There’s a fantastically full quality to everything on this debut album from Steven van Hulle, AKA Awanto 3. Living up to the moniker, elements of baile funk collide with Mala In Cuba-esque rhythms, warm 80s inspired synth breakbeats and new school swing, the result being an exotic party of a record that deserves to have every listener standing to attention, if not swaying in time.

Housier moments such as Dikkie Dik, featuring Tom Trago, retain that air of loose, organic-feeling percussion, but the four fours aren’t where the real passion is most evident. Through constant build and gradual increase of overall noise the epic Bubbles Make Me Cry, which starts life a simple refrained melody and flowing hi-hats; and the head-nodding opener Su What?, could create a tangible atmosphere in your humble front room with nobody else present, both demanding we move feet to the variety of drums and cymbals on offer, despite often only using suggestions to hook us in.

Elsewhere, Jillinekrace‘s pseudo-drum ‘n’ bass is the thing skankers crave, and would go down a storm at any worthwhile party, and Boogiedownpopke is a slo-mo retro pop triumph if ever we heard one (watch out, Soul Clap). An altogether impressive affair, in Opel Mantra we have an album (or three 12″ singles, depending on which version you pick up) that has never seen a bad track, and a key reason why we can’t wait for the next offering from this unarguably talented and highly innovative rising producer, whatever that may be entitled. Proof that the expectations and predictions of greatness weren’t misplaced or over the top.