10 May Ripe’s Guide to Dekmantel 2016
There are a slew of festivals come summertime in Europe that seem to attract both locals and internationals like moths to a flame. Germany can claim Melt!, Croatia proudly sports Dimensions, and the Netherlands has none other than Dekmantel Festival to call its own. Given its international run this year, it’s quite clear that the name Dekmantel – whether affixed to a festival, record label, or Dekmantel Soundsystem – holds a lot of prestige. So, leading up to the festivals 2016 incarnation, we’ve decided to give you our day-by-day guide to Dekmantel Festival 2016.
Day One – Thursday
Our pick for the opening segment is a bit of a toughie, so we have jointly awarded James Holden and Tony Allen our number one picks. While on paper the experimental, almost drone-like nature of James Holden’s deafening live show (see our review for his show in Melbourne here) could hardly be compared to the rock-steady and silky smooth work of Tony Allen, both acts are performing live with their respective bands. For James Holden this should hopefully mean the frenetic yet laser-precise drum work of Tom Page will be on display, potentially stealing the spotlight from Holden’s modular synth. But – like the unpredictable nature of the modular synth itself – who knows what to expect? Allen, the mastermind behind tracks like ‘When One Door Closes’, will even things out with easier-on-the-ears afrobeat.
Day Two – Friday
Come Friday and Dekmantel is really into the swing of things, so you’re faced with a bevy of choices in the daytime. Big names like Jeff Mills, Theo Parrish and Marcellus Pittman dominate the lineup as artists that have been around for decades, but our number one would be Ben UFO going back-to-back with Joy Orbison. One of the few DJs who keeps it strictly on the ones and twos rather than including any production, Ben UFO is known for delivering tracks you wouldn’t hear anywhere else. Both a DJ and a producer, Joy Orbison is a perfect paragon for the British electronic music scene, combining elements of house and dubstep with hints of UK garage in a delightfully warm combination (check ‘Hyph Mngo’ if you need any further reassurance.)
Day Three – Saturday
Another star-studded day as per expectations. Eschewing the more popular selectors like Dixon and Tale of Us, we picked two artists who are on the darker end of the spectrum. Those two would be Donato Dozzy and Abdullah Rashim. Whilst Donato Scaramuzzi might be a quiet, bespectacled man and Abdullah Rashim a younger renegade with an affinity for wielding spray paint, both artists are able to command an atmosphere like no other. Their expansive sets dive into unforgiving techno that melds the emotional command of ambient music with the relentless drive of a 4/4 rhythm. While the two hail from Italy and Sweden respectively, their music sounds like nothing of this earth.
Day Four – Sunday
Wrapping up proceedings, our final day includes some old favourites from previous Dekmantel line ups. Motor City Drum Ensemble‘s set from 2014 is an instant classic, and Fatima Yahama‘s live performance last year cemented the popularity of ‘What’s A Girl To Do‘ once and for all after some years. However, we are going to go ahead and pick our top three for the Sunday, going for a bit of variety.
Anyone who considers themselves a proper dubstep head would surely have a copy of ‘Anti War Dub’ floating around their collection. The collaborative effort from Mala and Coki produces the proper stuff, drawing upon dub origins with serious basslines without the needless attention-seeking of ‘the drop’. Artists who don’t receive half the attention they deserve outside of the UK, these two are the ones to break up the house and techno that dominates the lineup.
With some very impressive work out on the L.I.E.S. label, Voiski‘s productions have serious legs. With heavy build ups, you can’t help but feel tracks like ‘Wax Fashion’ or ‘Ad Infinitum’ sweep you up in their long waves of sound – and his live set is sure to do the same.
Little needs to be said about this artist from Germany. Amygdala is one of the most formative albums of electronic music, his DJ Kicks mix is nothing short of sublime, and the catalogue of remixes DJ Koze provides is rich with instant classics. What to expect out of the DJ/Producer who has been around for some decades now? Eclectic tracks and wacky samples, if previous mixes are anything to go off.
So if you’re heading down to one of the most thoughtfully-curated festivals in the world, be sure to check out our picks – although you’re pretty much guaranteed a good time whomever you see.