Awanto3 (AKA former Rednose Distrikt man Steven van Hulle) has long been the beating heart of Amsterdam's musical scene, seemingly operating as the city's collaborator in chief (he's previously worked with San Proper, Tom Trago, Young Marco and others). Predictably, this debut solo album features a wealth of local talent (most uncredited) and offers a thrillingly imaginative romp through his seemingly endless list of influences. Darting between heavy Latin percussion workouts (the stand-out "Cowbelgian" and delicious "Bubbles Made Me Cry"), moody Afro-house ("Su What?"), vivid jazz-flecked deep house ("Boogiedownpoke"), moody beats ("The Wall") and kaleidoscopic rumba ("Baila Con Paula"), Opel Mantra is an impressively varied and vivacious debut that delivers just the right balance between celebratory dancefloor fare and left-of-centre headphone fodder.
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