Antal in London

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  • Antal has long been a fine DJ, but there's a palpable feeling of excitement around him at the moment. Perhaps it's down to the fact his label, Rush Hour Recordings, had yet another a strong year in 2015. Or maybe it's the increased profile brought on by his regular back-to-back sets with fellow Amsterdam resident Hunee. (Their recent session at Magnetic Fields in India was the festival's highlight.) Or maybe a busy touring schedule has him sharper and more focused than ever before. Whatever it is, the Dutch selector was in blistering form throughout Saturday's all-night set at Dance Tunnel. When I arrived he was playing deep and soulful house tunes like the "Underground Mix" of Groovestyle's "Love," which features on Jeremy Underground's next compilation. These went down well, but as the night progressed it was his disco, Brazilian and African selections that got the biggest reactions. Records like Patti Labelle's "When Am I Gonna Find True Love" had the crowd hollering. Maalem Mahmoud Guinia & Floating Points's "Mimoun Marhaba," a sparse blend of vocals, claps and Sam Shepherd's keyboard work, was one of the tracks of the night, alongside JD Twitch's wonderful edit of Amadou & Mariam's "Ce N'est Pas Bon." There was a David Bowie tribute ("Ashes To Ashes"), a squelching acid cut and music from Nigeria and South Africa, before Antal finished the night with Manabu Nagayama & Soichi Terada's "Low Tension" and two killer Brazilian numbers. My colleague Matt McDermott recently suggested 2015 was the year of the digger DJ. There's a generation of music heads with access to modern technologies—Shazam, Discogs, Boiler Room—who possess deep knowledge and a thirst for new sounds. It takes someone like Antal, who has dug for records in basements across the world (his knowledge of Brazilian music is particularly formidable) to school clued-in clubbers. Throughout his set at Dance Tunnel he was quick in the mix, never letting tracks go stale—nudging the mood in one direction before yanking it somewhere totally different. After five hours, it felt like he was just getting started.