Animaux | UK

Love International Reveal Full Lineup

Jan
19

In 2016 Love International continues the legacy left by The Garden Festival in Croatia, the region’s founding event and the one which inspired the now burgeoning scene of electronic music along the country’s stunning coast.

Making its debut on June 29th, Love International’s ethos might already feel a little familiar, curated by Dave Harvey and Tom Paine who have many years of experience working with The Garden Festival’s crew and shaping its artist bookings. Now they are realising their full vision, bringing back some old friends who have graced Tisno over the years and also introducing many of the world’s most revered DJs and producers for the first time to Tisno.

Five of the just revealed names are all amazing artists in their own right, each bringing something different to Love International. Eats Everything is quite simply one of the world’s biggest DJs and for the last three years he has blown Tisno away; for pure electric party vibes it doesn’t get any better. Bicep had a huge 2015 and the duo are all set to make this year even bigger, sculpting sublime sets across disco, house and techno, whilst Jackmaster played arguably one of the defining sets of last year with Armand Van Helden, their Boiler Room show skipping between French touch to garage and everything good in between. Roman Flugel is a Teutonic legend from the early 1990s crossing ambient, house, techno, electro and leftfield, and prime Swedish export Axel Boman is a bit of a young legend already; his Studio Barnhus label is a source of great material, and he has released and remixed on Permanent Vacation, Moodmusic and Hypercolour. The guys are joined by the already announced Dixon, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Ben UFO, Gerd Janson, Craig Richards, Joy Orbison, Midland, Horse Meat Disco, Prosumer, Hunee and Job Jobse.

Check this handy poster for all of the names:

Tickets and more info at http://loveinternationalfestival.com/

Love International Announces Line-up

Nov
03

After the original Croatian festival – The Garden Festival, closed its doors last year after a decade of parties it seemed as the yearly trek to the Adriatic sea was coming to the end for some. It seems that is not the case, however, as a spiritual successor is starting to shape up – Love International.

By day a harmonious holiday beneath the sizzling sun, and by dusk as the beats shift gear and introduce each balmy night beneath a canopy of stars, the intimate setting holds a unique energy, sound tracked by some of the world’s leading underground DJs and producers, drawing a vibrant and diverse audience from across the world to this tiny strip of paradise.

Dave Harvey, one of Love International’s founders, explains that: “We are feeling really great about Love International and continuing the great work The Garden Festival family created here over the last ten years. What we are doing is going to have its own vibe and some new elements, but at the same time we are seeking to retain and embrace what made The Garden so good – that family feel to it all, everyone knowing everyone else, all set in this incredible site on the coast. For us it’s about continuing that growth in our own way, so people who came to The Garden will find Love International familiar to them, but at the same time it will be a new experience. We feel we have got some great names onboard for our first announcement, with loads more to come in January.”

Love International First Line Up

Many more names will be announced in the New Year, along with boat and club parties and exciting new elements to Love International.

***

Love International
Weds 29th June – Weds 6th July 2016
@ The Garden Tisno, Petrica Glava 34, 22240, Tisno, Croatia
Lineup so far: Dixon, MCDE, Ben UFO, Gerd Janson, Craig Richards, Joy Orbison, Midland, Horse Meat Disco, Prosumer, Hunee, Tama Sumo, Job Jobse, Fort Romeau, Felix Dickinson, Red Axes, Lord Of The Isles, Khruangbin and many more to be announced
£120 for 7 days and 7 nights (club and boat parties extra) www.loveinternationalfestival.com

Gottwood Festival 2016 here we come!

Sep
29

Riding the end of the festival season like a wave that’s quickly dissipating, we haven’t got much ahead of us but months of free-floating through work and winter.  We will eventually get to the distant shores of the summer to come, in the meantime we drift through the months dealing with the flotsam of daily tasks.  Don’t despair, we’ve caught site of something on that promising shore: Gottwood Festival have announced the release of limited super early bird tickets.

What was definitely the Animaux crew’s best festival of 2015 have plotted a course for their return on the 9th of June 2016.  Although no line-up has been hinted at as of yet the Gottwood crew has instead detailed the expansion of their close-knit family of promoters. These include the Bristol based label Banoffee Pies and London’s highly regarded party organisers: Secretsundaze.

Find a full list of promoters below.

For those who didn’t attend this year, you missed out on some of the best names in electronic music: Panorama bar regulars Hunee and Margaret Dygas, the must see Ben UFO, everyone’s favourite Motor City Drum Ensemble and the list goes on and on (no really).  All of this showcased on a beautiful estate with dozens of intimate chill-spaces and clusters of art dotted around, a place where you can’t help but make new friends and have a great time.

With more people getting involved this year we, here at Animaux, can only assume the next instalment will showcase even bigger acts while, of course, maintaining the Gottwood promise of keeping it small and personal.

While I was writing this article the early birds sold out.  That’s how good this festival is, and yes it’s absolutely worth paying the full price.

We also wrote an article on Why you should go to Gottwood Festival which I think captures the spirit of the woods well.

We’ll see you there!

Website: http://www.gottwood.co.uk/

Tickets: http://www.gottwood.co.uk/tickets/

 

Review: MINT Festival

Sep
23

After a short and very very speedy ride via bus (bloody terrifying I might add) I had arrived at Wetherby Racecourse. As I was admiring the views on my brisk walk up to the entrance checkpoints, I was greeted by the all too familiar sound of bass thumping in the distance. MINT festival was well under way.

Picture by Mantas Zalepuga

This year the festival had 6 arenas, down from last year’s 8. This, however, did not mean the festival was at all smaller – for the first time MINT Festival went on for two days. All of the arenas were under massive marquees to prevent any nasty weather spoiling the fun and each and every stage had huge LED screens for visuals. The sound was top-notch in majority of the arenas, with a few exceptions – mainly the GOODGRIEF & Digital Society stage, the hard dance tent, although as I am no purveyor of this genre I might be wrong on this one.

I spent most of my time on Saturday at the MINT Presents stage (Jungle Jam & Detonate on Sunday). Even though it was empty when I arrived (around 1PM), it quickly filled up for George Fitzgerald. Thoroughly enjoyable performance – even if a little underwhelming. The best way to describe his set is that if you have had the pleasure of seeing him once before or even watched any of his Boiler Room sets then you have experienced the same I did at MINT. Again, thoroughly enjoyable, yet not remotely memorable.

Maya Jane Coles took the stage next (and delivered) and as I have had seen her before, I took a wander around the grounds. Other stages at MINT included the very aptly named “Bitch” stage for all of the EDM ‘artists’, the Blasé Boys Club  stage with performances from the likes of Kiwi (thoroughly enjoyed bouncing to his deep house grooves), Waze & Odyssey, Tiga and Duke Dumont. The Knee Deep in Sound (Prism, Circular & Deja Vu on Sunday) stage played host to the likes of Green Velvet, Hot Since 82 and Denney. Last but certainly not least we had the System & Set Twenty One arena (Elrow on Sunday) where one of Animaux’s favourite guests Annie Errez performed alongside Premiesku (LIVE), Apollonia and Luciano among others. As you can see there was a huge variety of stages, artists and music genres which benefited all the punters – everyone had somewhere to go and someone to be very excited about.

I returned to the MINT Presents stage for Martinez Brothers and even though I had high expectations for them I was completely blown away. These two really know how to put on a party and the their two-hour set felt like a very welcome explosion of euphoria. Everyone around me – including the bouncers and guys backstage were grooving with huge grins on their faces. Highlight of MINT and I cannot recommend them enough.

Photo by Mantas Zalepuga.

Mister Sven Väth was up next and I could not imagine anyone more suited to follow the Martinez Brothers’ show. The stage designers, light and visual guys, pyrotechnics and everyone else went all out to make Sven’s set look amazing but therein lies the issue. It looked amazing – lasers, fireballs, amazing visuals and lighting were top-notch however when it came to the actual set.. I was very underwhelmed, the long intro was setting it up to be something it never really became and even though I am a huge fan of minimal techno people wanted a proper belter of a set to close the first day of the festival and that never came. He weaned between bass and minimal techno and eventually it seemed people lost interest and the tent started losing people. Do not get me wrong, the music itself was amazing but with the reputation that Väth comes expectations were a lot higher than what was delivered.

And thus day one concluded and thousands of people tried to go home or Leeds for the afterparties. I say tried as the tiny roundabout next to the festival grounds got slammed by people trying to hail taxis, fighting and other usual post-festival malarkey. This has to be addressed next year as having hundreds of intoxicated people running on a road is bloody dangerous.

Sunday was a lot quieter – it seemed people’s batteries ran out on Saturday. Due to technical difficulties Elrow & Seth Troxler Presents stages were combined into one, however this ended up with quite a few unexpected yet fantastic b2b’s and all of the inflatables! Special mentions of the day go to Zip and Ricardo Villalobos back to back as well as Henrik Schwarz’s performance.

All in all MINT Festival was a truly great experience with a lot of fantastic artists and insane production quality. Recommend.

 

Review: The Garden Party

Sep
03

On a sunny Saturday afternoon, we arrived at The Tetley in Leeds – a former brewery, now contemporary art gallery complex. The Garden Party was upon us and I could not pick a better setting myself.

The festival grounds were quite small in comparison to other day festivals I have visited before (namely Field Day), which I very much enjoyed – all of the five stages were a brisk walk away. We were instantly drawn to the biggest one – the Fact stage by none other than Ame. A fantastic performance of melodic techno and house left the very varied crowd craving for more while we went on to explore the grounds a little more.

The other stages were considerably smaller in size, however keeping the caliber of the artists performing in mind, this ended up being a very positive experience. My biggest pet peeve of not actually being able to make out artists on stage, or staring at screens here turned into intimate performances. The best example of this was my highlight of the Dummy stage – Roisin Murphy. Seeing her and her band move the few hundred smiles around us really cemented The Garden Party as a place I will recommend not only to those interested in electronic music.

Another stage – Metropolis & Ape (known as Just A Little Stage on Sunday) played host to the more commercially orientated artists such as Redlight, Shadow Child and B.Traits among quite a few more. We managed to catch a good bit of Redlight and even though I would not describe the experience as groundbreaking it was thoroughly enjoyable for what it was.

The Red Bull Truck, which was classed as a stage, was placed in such a way that quite a bit of the sound was drowned out by the rumble of its bigger counterparts, however Ste Roberts and Zutekh deserve a mention for keeping the bar and food stall queues grooving throughout the two days.

My absolute highlight of the festival, however, was Heidi. The woman definitely knows how to put on a great show and as the Saturday night drew to a close I and many others, it seemed, were craving for more of the jackin house goodness. If you ever get a chance – do see her. Other special mentions go out to Joy Orbison, my new love – Black Coffee and Romare for making me get achievements on my phone’s physical activity tracker.

All in all The Garden Party was thoroughly enjoyable. A lot of thought went into curating this city festival, far more than others I have attended in the past and it shows in everything – from the sound, the line-up and the food. Itching for next year’s edition!

More info on The Garden Party here – http://www.thegardenpartyleeds.com/

Preview: MINT Festival

Aug
28

Striding into it’s fourth year, MINT Festival returns home to Leeds for an epic two-day camping event at Wetherby Racecourse. Encompassing six arenas of diverse sonic programming, MINT Festival is the perfect close to the summer, taking place over the weekend of the 19th and 20th September.

The festival offers a huge line-up both in the amount of artists performing and the variety of music genres between them. We have the techno and house superstars Sven Väth and  Ricardo Villolobos, Zip, Martinez Brothers, Seth Troxler and others (among which is Animaux’s favourite lady – Annie Errez).

Those who want to experience the heavier side of bass music have Benton and Skepta to look forward to and those who prefer something a bit more commercial Kryder and Sigma will be playing too, among many many others.

This is shaping up to be an incredible weekend no matter what your preference in electronic music might be. Personally, Sven is what sold this for me – cannot wait! 😉

Weekend & Day Tickets are now on-sale at: mintfestival.co.uk/tickets.html

Full line-up over here: mintfestival.co.uk/line-up/

Preview: The Garden Party

Aug
20

The Garden Party returns to Leeds for its 10th rendition on 29th of August with two days packed of great artists and amazing food! This bank holiday weekend they are taking over The Tetley (Hunslet Road, LS10 1JQ Leeds) 10 AM – 11 PM on both days with afterparties running afterwards.

The Garden Party is offering a very impressive and wide array of artists spanning the two days – Roisin Murphy, Todd Terje, Joy Orbison, Âme and Grandmaster Flash to name a few.

As well as music they are reaching out to independent food and beverage sellers for the highest quality grub and drink – FISH& / BOOZY Q BBQ / NORTHERN BLOC / BÁNH MÌ BOOTH / PIZZA FELLA / RŌLA WALA / SELA / CRAFT BEER BAR / COCKTAIL SHACK.

With club and promoter partners such as Warehouse Project, Canal Mills, Mono_Cult, and KMAH Radio among others, the quality is assured as the best the North has to offer come together for a fantastic two-day party. See you there!

ROISIN MURPHY / LITTLE DRAGON / TALIB KWELI / TODD TERJE / SOUL II SOUL / KERRI CHANDLER / JOHN TALABOT / JULIO BASHMORE / JOY ORBISON /  BLACK COFFEE / HEIDI / GRANDMASTER FLASH / ÂME / BICEP / REDLIGHT / PATRICK TOPPING / B.TRAITS / MR SCRUFF / CRAIG CHARLES / SHADOW CHILD / PAUL WOOLFORD / CHRIS LORENZO / FATIMA & THE EGLO BAND / PREDITAH / ROMARE / PBR STREETGANG / CRAZY P SOUNDSYSTEM / FUTUREBOOGIE / ADY SULEIMAN / ERRORS / DUTCH UNCLES / BAMBOOMAN / GALAXIANS / HONNE / LONELADY / HAELOS / FORMATION / BERNARD AND EDITH / WHILK AND MISKY / ARKIVE / DISKO KID & TOBIAS / PEOPLE GET REAL / KRYSKO & GREG LORD / THE SONIC EMPORIUM / GRAINGER / STE ROBERTS / CHRISTIAN MAIDEN / OLI PATTEN / SIAN BENNETT

More information & tickets via www.thegardenpartyleeds.com

Dekmantel: Highlights – An Eye Witness Account

Aug
10

Day one at the much-anticipated Amsterdamse Bos site, is like entering a dystopian playground. This is going to be my haven for the next three days and I can’t wait to start exploring it. Some of my absolute favourite sets take place during that Friday. On my first visit to the famous Boiler Room stage I am greeted by an uplifting and feel-good set by Tripeo, who gave us an hour-long House set highly influenced by Disco beats. The bright sun instantly transports my thoughts to a chilled summer in  Majorca as I dance along to the sound of summer.

After the attending the start of Robert Hood‘s ruthless set in the UFO stage, my impatience grows as I am aware the time for Ben Klock to grace the Main Stage is fast approaching. Arriving before his set, I am happy to find that his predecessor Model 500 is closing his set with a hard punch. After a long anticipatory silence Ben Klock takes the stage. The sun behind us is setting to the perfect soundtrack and we are all on the same train to sundown as he transitions into darkness, seamlessly easing into a steady beat. The next set by Marcel Dettmann is perfectly complementary. His sound descends all God-like and you know that the darkness has finally taken over. The bright sun has set with Ben Klock and the dark moon is rising with Marcel Dettmann.

I leave the main stage half-heartedly to catch another set I am dying to see in the UFO stage. I arrive whilst Blawan is ending his set with a surrounding embryonic sound as a clash of machineguns blasts through the speakers. Squarepusher has signalled his presence. His signature mask, often slightly different with each appearance, is easy to make out in front of the geometric colourful visuals which appear behind him and his white fencing suit. The white iron mask completely hides his face. Feelings are intense, like stepping into a Matrix world of which he is the leader. The deck might as well be controlling us and not the beat. It’s something amazing to witness; his control of both the unpredictability of the beat and the crowd. He stops after every track to impose seconds of torturous silence before hyping the next one and backtracks the tempo just to test us before the track climactically ends.  If I had to use just one word to describe his set it would have to be ‘orgasm’. Pure orgasm. Mixing in Andy Stott’s ‘Damage’ was just the cherry on the top. Definitely my personal highlight.

As the second day kicked off, I move straight up to the tower between the Main Stage and the entrance. Aphrohead’s ‘Let’s Prance’ echoes from Mano Le Tough‘s set, who played before John Talbot took the Main Stage. I move to The Lab stage in time for Palms Trax. The vibe during his set reminds me of an exotic house party; chilled, light groovy house music with a nice selection of vocal samples and melodic synths. I notice the groovy track by Jack J, ’Thirsting’ come on and instantly everyone is whistling and swaying to the beat.

The glorious weather persuades me to leave The Lab and return to the tower. The vantage point towards the Main Stage and the crowds gives me no reason whatsoever to want to move. The long silence between John Talabot and Four Tet was agonising but the soaking sun and friendly vibe on the tower made up for it. When his set kicks off I know I’ve made the right choice. His musical choices such as ‘OAR003-B’ by Oni Ayhun are another perfect soundtrack to the perfect sunset. My only regret on that day is not witnessing what must have been an impressive 5 hour long set up to the end of the day by Antal RH, Hunee and Floating Points at the Selectors stage.

On the last day I decide to see a majority of female artists. Helena Hauff in The Lab is going to be my first lady. I see her standing behind the deck, nonchalantly smoking one cigarette after the next whilst she spins the crowd into motion. To my surprise the German techno artist shies away from her usual acid techno touch and brings in some hard-core bass lines into what can only turn into an extremely ruthless set.  Instead, she surprises us with some ‘on your feet Disco’ beats and RnB samples which put the pop and lock into her classic techno. It turns out to be a highly experimental and varied set impossible not to dance to.  One look at the stacked speakers in the lab and you can see them helplessly emerged into a continuous tremble. Each beat feels like a punch and the more she punches the more we yearn for. She is certainly giving us all she has.

The other lady I am dying to see is Nina Kraviz. Upon my entrance to the UFO stage the black widow of techno descends like a dark cloud. The vibe on the dance floor is animalistic and she is ruthless from start to finish, playing some of her favourite tracks such as the relentless ‘All Aboard The U.S.S. Severe EP’ by Barcode Population from 1996.To finish, she brings in some groove to calm us down with Cafe del mar song ‘Energy 52 (remix by DJ Kid Paul)’. And although the energy and undeniable talent bursts out of the stage, part of me leaves the stage with a desire to see her bring something new to her next sets.

I return swiftly to catch a bit of Clark‘s visually stunning dark set before setting off for the main stage to catch UK hit artist Carl Craig. His set brings the UK scene to Amsterdamse Bos with its groovy and vocally rich tracks. It is now only one set before the end of the last day and the crowds are going wild. A drone-like voice echoes around the main stage ‘You have been the best audience that we ever had’ and the words are being projected on the massive screens ahead. Germans Siriusmodeselektor (Modeselektor + Siriusmo) appear on stage. Hip Hop, RnB vibes and vocal samples blast from the speakers after a majestic intro. Their monkey logo appears playfully on the screen as the presenter stands on the control panel with a microphone reaching out to the audience. the hype is rising as he waves his hand in the air as if saying ‘Dance monkeys dance!’. He does the same throughout random moments of the set; a powerful figure on top of our world reminding us to dance as if it is our last chance …because for some it is. Some of their hit tracks featured in the set include ‘I’m not into twerk I’m into Kraftwerk’ and ‘Evil Twin’, which comes in towards the end to leave the Main Stage in a cloud of smoke and dust for the last time.

Special kudos have to go to  the techies for putting together a jaw dropping personalised Siriusmodeselektor visual show. I would also like at this point to congratulate all visual artists and lighting technicians as the level and quality of atmosphere was truly amazing to witness and added a serious bonus to the whole experience. Each stage both at Amsterdamse Bos and the Melkweg had its own personal atmosphere and the variety between stages was fascinating. Special mention has to go to Heleen Blanken, visual artist of my visually favourite UFO stage and to the lighting team of The Max in the Melkweg, who managed to add a colourful touch without compromising the underground and eerie set up of this main stage.

On the third and final night I am visiting the Melkweg, the after-party which runs till the early hours of the morning. I am pleased to find that it’s refreshingly different to the day site; a predominantly underground vibe with four stages and an indoor smoking area, each stage with its own unique character – its perfect for an after-party. There is one person I am lucky to be watching playing a live set tonight; Andy Stott. Well before the clock strikes 2am I abandon my roaming of the spanning three floored club and enter the Oude Zaal stage. I arrive just as the last set ends in a funky disco tune which I find odd as a prelude to Andy Stott. However, the short silence and the slow emergence of an intro as he takes his place beneath the smoke and swirling lights has me catching my breath. A hypnotic, angelic voice sounds from the speakers reminiscent of a combination of his two tracks ‘Leave’ and ‘Time Away’ I can’t shake the feeling that there is incredible pain in his intro and the same feeling remains throughout the entirety of his set. It is influenced by various genres such as Industrial, Noise and Dark Techno but he surprises us with some Gabber, which through his dark dexterity feels like repetitively and mercilessly being shot by a shotgun.  All in all, what I’m feeling is a disturbingly beautiful pain and strangely I do not want to let go of it. His final beat comes as a sigh of relief and a cry for more.

Dekmantel is certainly an event no one should miss. The selection, variety and dexterity of the artists is like no other; the team is devoted like no other; the site is breathtakingly beautiful like no other and the experience, well, it is like no other

Photographs courtesy of Dekmantel. 

Dekmantel: The Land of Endless Industry

Aug
08

There is a lake outside Amsterdam, close to Amstelveen.  The silver surface mirrors the sky lapping at pristine shores – overlooked by the piercing pupil – the spire Church of St. Urban.  The location is idyllic, but when we were there the sounds of dystopia were distorting the serenity and twisting the shores into a paranoid mist, there we found the presence of Barad-Dur and industry of Mordor.

J.R.R Tolkien imagery feels only appropriate when, opposite the mainstage, there is a palm tree-clad tower shrouded in eternal smoke with rotating/watching spotlights.  Wherever you are in the festival ground you can see this structure, reminding you that beyond the stage you are standing at there are another four. All of these broadcasting grinding hi-hats and kicks abused by the frenzy of production. Dekmantel is a unique place where the music is inescapable, there is no area to take a few moments solace.  The relentless 4×4 kicks are a constant; which might explain the unbelievable energy the crowd demonstrated.  From the moment we arrived, until we were on the bus away from the outdoor factory of Dekmantel, every single soul was dancing.

Electronic genres are often criticised for their repetitiveness, to which I usually answer something along the lines of “that’s the point” or “how else are you going to dance?”.  Instead, here, the level of skill and showmanship of these world-class DJs kept the crowds captivated.  The usual shouts of approval were replaced, at Dekmantel and only here, with gasps of exasperation or of surprise.  I assume because the listeners could not believe the abuse the sound system was handling and how anyone could dish it out.  Robert Hood for example pleased the crowd with his infamous “Never Grow Old” only to disrupt it with “Chained to a dead camel” shutting down the proposed elation with an industrial mind-fuck.  Around forty minutes later “Never Grow Old” made it’s reappearance mixed into a Motown classic; Robert Hood remains a cheeky youth.

Marcel Dettmann, on the other hand, is slow and precise.  He begun with a stage exhausted by Ben Klock and a day stood in the sun; he started slowly to people moving around wondering where to go next. By the end of the set I was encased on all sides by people unable and unwilling to escape, like a tractor beam from a space age factory he locked us all in place.  This was only the beginning of the weekend, after which I was concerned nothing would live up to it.  While nothing surpassed it every act we were at met this high standard.

Of the five stages the UFO and the Main stage stand out in memory for being the biggest, but also having a constant stream of must-see head-liners – in fact it was quite difficult to leave this area of the festival.  The other stages; Selectors, the Lab, and the Boiler Room offered the underground specials, the Panorama bar residents and the quirky bookings (I’m thinking of Madlib and Roy Ayers).

Each of these stages boasted perfect sound and a variety of mind-blowing visuals – there was one moment in the UFO stage when I was almost certain my eyes had begun to see space differently.  A series of lasers cut through the ceaseless smoke jets that spiralled above the throngs of people; then from behind these plates of blue and green light an assortment of multi-coloured strobes polluted the visual field, until the over-stimulation gave way to nothing but white.  It would be at this point when the clarity of a new 4×4 would shatter the confusion, leading you back to the comfort of production, the reassurance of techno.  You have no worries at Dekmantel, no concerns of the outside world because the heavy-booted kicks put your mind at ease. Somewhere someone is getting things done, and for once it doesn’t have to be you.

After this weekend my music hunger has been sated, I’m comfortable to sit in silence and relive those blissful moments.  I can’t find much wrong with Dekmantel, my only warnings to festival-goers is to wear comfortable shoes and bring lots of sun-cream.  You will have a great day and wish it wasn’t over – especially when you’re faced with gruelling queuing for the 45 minute bus ride to the Melkweg after-party.

Photographs courtesy of Dekmantel

Preview: Dekmantel Festival 2015

Jul
09

This will be the third, ongoing year of the young festival of electronic music, hosted in the Dutch capital of Amsterdam. From the opening concert on the 30th of July to the last beat of the closing act in the early hours of August 2nd, Dekmantel will vibrate all the way throughout the capital with its new improved and expanded layout; and I sure as hell can’t wait to be shaken by it.

For the past two years Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam Forest) has been the main and only location of the festival. The 1,000 hectares of the entirely artificial landscape park –that is three times the size of Central Park if you need a comparison are located just outside of the city on the borders of Amstelveen. Although artificially created, don’t expect to see fake trees and little ponds. The site is a host of immense natural beauty and amongst other things you can expect to see lush forests, grassy meadows and large water areas including lakes and rivers. It is also a host of a variety of animals but I doubt you’ll get to see any before they are chased away by the boisterous vibes. De Heuvel (The Hill), is one thing you shouldn’t miss; an artificial mountain turned massive slippery slope in winter for kids to enjoy winter sports on. But who says you can’t use it for your regular adrenaline rush tumble? And if you want to fully embrace nature in all its glory there’s even a ‘Naturalist area’ where you can ‘kick your clothes off’ and relax. This year, the space will host five stages (MAIN, UFO, THE LAB, SELECTORS, BOILER ROOM) and not only will you have the chance to experience all of the above, but also another two additional venues!

Treating the opening concert (30th July) as a proper concert, the team have decided to host it in the concert hall for contemporary classical music, Muziekgebouw aan’t IJ (Music Building on the IJ). The building features two massive venues -one for music, one for theatre- and is located above the IJ tunnel by the waterfront, just a 10 minute walk from Centraal Station.

The second, newly adopted venue for the night programme is one of significant importance to the Danish electronic music scene. Former dairy factory, the Melkweg (Milky Way) has been the city’s most well-known electronic music venue ever since its renovation and re-opening in 1970. Located in the nightlife hotspot of Leidseplein, the venue features a number of multi-purpose rooms including two on the ground floor with ridiculous capacities (Max: 1,500 and Oude Zaal: 700) which will most likely be used for the purposes of the festival.

The Dekmantel team lives by the ethos they started with: quality over quantity. The music scene is grand and there really is something for every taste.

I for one can’t wait for some of the big names that will hit the stages of Amsterdamse Bog. The king of the infamous Berghain in Berlin, as well as producer and label owner, Ben Klock, will be gracing us with his presence, followed by the equally influential techno master Marcel Dettmann. Both will play on the Friday evening as a perfect reminder of what is to follow in the next couple of days. Two of the biggest American names in techno, Carl Craig, Detroit master and experimentalist and Jeff Mills with his relentlessly hard and industrial sounds are certainly going to grant some life-changing dance floor experiences I do not want to miss. One of my personal favourites, Nina Kraviz, will be one of the last to share her unique blend of acid house and techno with the festival crowds on Sunday at the UFO stage, clashing with the deep beats of Dixon from the Main stage –it’s going to be a hard choice. Incorporating more styles into his techno beats than anyone, from hip-hop to jazz, grime and live instrumentation, our very own U.K. artist Four Tet will also be gracing the Main stage and is certainly someone I never tire of seeing. Certainly, there are more names that strike a chord and a lot more genres for you to look out for. Squarepusher will be bringing us some drum & bass, musique concrete and acidic beats with jazz influences, Ricardo Villalobos his mad dance beats, Madlib his hip-hop influenced sounds and Siriusmodeselektor will give us the opportunity to feel his mad bass live. And if you need a break from all the electronic music just for a little while, Roy Ayers will be there to chill you out with his funk, soul and jazz.

Last but not least, I have to mention the treats the team has lined up for our evening entertainment in the Melkweg. Again, I just have to praise one of the headlines as I am monstrously excited to see this guy. After his recent release ‘Faith in Strangers’, Manchester dub and techno producer Andy Stott will be playing a live set. Another highlight will certainly have to be watching the U.K. father of disco/garage/house, DJ Harvey, mix another one of his incredibly varied sets. Moreover, two artists will be returning to the Dekmantel stage after their successful sets last year: the granddad of U.K. techno Surgeon and U.S. experimental house boss Traxx. Once again, there will be something for every taste. Answer Code Request will be bringing the industrial punch and fierce determination, Basic Soul Unit the deep house, Boris Werner the house and others a lot more.

My expectations are big, but my excitement is bigger. I know I’m not missing this for the world… why should you?