It’s been said that for an artist to truly stand out, you must achieve either of two things. On the one hand, you can attempt to be either the most skilled or secondly (and perhaps more elusively), you can attempt to be the most different. But every once in a while emerges an artist that believes they’ve found an answer to the age-old question that always follows – what happens when you get both? It’s hard to put a finger on but it can be safely said we imagine it sounds a little something like the ever so ambitious latest from Wantigga and the Dutch multi-instrumentalist’s greatest opus to date – “Andreas”.
What is perhaps so refreshingly immediate about “Andreas” is it’s pure and unabashedly strong musical identity. Seldomly found in the more electronic-centric of soul-inspired projects is both a traditional and contemporary detailing applied throughout. There is something of an exhibiting quality in the implementation of imperfect instrument solos, organic vocalisations and warm analogue synthesis as there is immaculate sample selection, curated found-sounds and unconventional arrangement.
Perhaps even more impressive is simply the sheer number of genres to which this degree of sophistication not only spans but always maintains and quite regularly even excels over. Make no mistake, “Andreas” is first and foremost a picture of Soul and RnB, but one which is so painstakingly painted upon numerous canvases the likes of everything from pop, hip-hop, downtempo, ambient, lounge and moombahton to drum and bass, breakbeat, garage, house, acid, and even ethnic and foreign styles such as in the dark-horse ‘Bike Ride’.
It’s a rare degree of versatility in both composition and production that most dare not attempt but that translates just as well to a pair of headphones as it does a pair of club speakers – a sentiment perhaps exemplified no better by any other track but within the melancholy of the Bonobo/Four Tet reminiscent ‘Love Yourself’. It’s a sound usually omitted of anything remotely resembling a hip-hop motif, but with this metaphorical flipping-of-the-script you’d be hard-pressed to ever understand why as Maydien lends their Scrufizzer-esque rhythmic mantra-isms so naturally to the beautiful orchestrations and syncopations of its criminally short 3:52 minute run time. So it’s to even greater joy then, to see it given an extended treatment along with only one other – that being the albums lead track itself, the liquid-like‘2 Shaky’ with Flume alumni Ganz – at the tail end of the thirteen-strong offering.
It’s the perfect punctuation of the larger than life contribution that is “Andreas”, and a sound that begs further exploration when we inevitably once again see Wantigga both in print and poster beside some high-profile names. And with 2021’s such equally high price of admission, Andreas may just be the only ticket Wantigga needs.