Awanto 3’s Favourite Dada & Absurdist Record Sleeves – By The Insider

Chart complied at the request of The Insider

I first became aware of the ace Awanto 3 in 2012 when his track, Pregnant, floored me at Thunder, which at time was the coolest party in London. 

A member of the extended Rush Hour family for well over a decade, this week he returns to the Netherlands-based dance music giant with a 3-track E.P., entitled Party Volume 1. The tunes are built upon MPC workouts, created while care-taking a haunted house. Friends, Jos De Haas and Stefan Schmid subsequently adding percussion and keys, lightening the mood of the original dark, possessed sketches. 

When not making music Awanto 3 is a multi-media artist, who goes by the names of Steven Van Van Heulle and Steven de Peven. Heavily influenced by the Dada and Absurdist art movements, as the latter he’s published a photography book – shots of poor unsuspecting folks trying to retrieve coils superglued to Amsterdam pavements – called Bukken voor je leven.

Steven de Peven Bukken voor je leven

Here, Steven shares some of his favourite records with Dada / Absurdist sleeves.



African criss-cross rhythms that explode with happiness. The cover shows 2 elephants. One standing on the ground, another hovering. It has the wings of a butterfly. Pretty heavy contrasts.

Kinderen voor Kinderen

Kinderen voor Kinderen

Children’s songs made by and for kids from the Netherlands. Classic. From back when covers had a practical function, to convey a message, whatever that was, I think nowadays it looks like pure Dada.

The Evolution of the Groove  / Warp Records

The Evolution of the Groove : Warp Records

My first Warp record from the early 1990s. The objects you see on the cover appear unrelated, but in the end the total picture looks like a piece of art. Absurd setting.

Rednose Distrikt / Iller Dan Je Ouders

Rednose Distrikt : Iller Dan Je Ouders

Our debut album as Rednose Distrikt, the collective I started with Kid Sublime and later Aardvarck. The cover art is a collaboration between artist collective Machine, and our main Rednose art designer, Pieter Parra. The message on the cover says that when you are way more ‘ill’ than your parents are, just because you are the new generation. Most of the jokes we created during our carrier as Rednose Distrikt were based on Pieter’s madness and our shared understanding of red noses.

Herbie Hancock / Sextant

Herbie Hancock : Sextant

I bought this masterpiece when I was a teenager. I managed to have the my copy signed personally by my hero jazz pianist at the North Sea Jazz Festival. The cover has a science fiction kinda setting and flirts with Dada, but the music, compared with the traditional compositions of Herbie, is complete Dada for me. My eye opener in fusion.

Kamagurka en de Vlaamse Primitieven / Mijn buurman

Kamagurka en de Vlaamse Primitieven : Mijn buurman

Kamagurka Sam’s cartoons were my first introduction to Dada. My dad tried to hide them from me when I was a kid because of their dark and absurd humour. It did not work. I got heavily infected by these classics. Apart from his cartoons he sometimes wrote songs, like this one, where he sings about the amazing luck you can have by being surrounded by your neighbours. Even though this sounds pretty normal, everything Kamagurka says comes from the deepest planet of absurdism. It fits your Dada directions.

Wevie Stonder / Drawing On Other People’s Heads

Wevie Stonder : Drawing On Other People's Heads

Wevie Stonder turns some things around both in music and artwork. The cover matches his meaningless ideas. Same as the music. He is a true Neo-Dadaist in the world of electronic music.

Radar Men From The Moon / Intergalactic Dada & Space Trombones

Radar Men From The Moon : Intergalactic Dada

Radar Men From The Moon is an instrumental space / post / stoner / rock band from the Netherlands. The album cover needs no explanation. Masterpiece.

TNT Roots / Raw Dub Creator

TNT Roots

Computerized dub structures and riddims with an insane sleeve. A must have for Dada-dub lovers,

Passport / Cross Collateral

Passport : Cross Collateral

1970s prog-jazz-fusion from Klaus Doldinger’s band – who went on to do soundtracks like Das Boot and Never Ending Story. A most colourful Dada album cover.

Awanto3 / Gargamel

Awanto3 : Gargamel

My second album is named after the dark wizard from the smurfs. When I asked the very talented Dutch artist Stefan Glerum to create the cover of Gargamel he made a 3D object – which looked like a cross between and spaceship and a mask. This represented the face of the evil wizard in the future. 

Awanto 3’s Party Volume 1 is out now on Rush Hour. 

Awanto 3 Party Volume 1 Rush Hour

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