Animaux | UK

Preview: Dekmantel Festival 2016

Apr
28

Dekmantel Festival is back to the Dutch capital with its fourth installment and it is a doozy – they promise over 150 artists spread out their day and night programs as well as the opening concerts. Have a quick gander at the very stylish video they cooked up:

Dekmantel are heavily expanding on their opening concert idea and offering not one (like last year) but nine (!!) concerts spread out across Amsterdam’s beautiful city-centre locations. All venues are linked with free ferry services and promise an additional free cultural program. These range from James Holden’s dreamy techno ventures with a live band to Alessandro Cortini’s (Nine Inch Nails) live electronica experimentations. You can check the full opening concert line-up over at Dekmantel’s website.

August fifth marks the first official day of the festival in the stunning natural surroundings of the Amsterdamse Bos park and it is hard to describe the amount of musical talent spread out throughout the weekend. Just the first day sees the likes of Jeff Mills, Ben UFO, Surgeon and Moodymann among many other very talented folk. And this theme continues throughout the weekend – I can hardly imagine what it will be like deciding if I should see Dixon or Aux 88, Roman Flügel or Daniel Avery on Saturday and picking between Palms Trax or Motor City Drum Ensemble on a Sunday afternoon just seems cruel. To top it all off at Amsterdamse Bos, the organisers promise: “We aim high with everything we do, but the festival terrain is an exception. We want to give our visitors an open view on the landscape, and thus the decorum will incorporate no skyscraping elements of any kind.” You can check the full day-by-day line-up here.

The night programme returns to the Melkweg – which is one of Holland’s most well-known and iconic music venues. The large building is a former milking factory, and has been in full effect since the abandoned factory got discovered in 1970. It’s a perfect spot for an adventurous club night, offering you a chance to wander and get lost somewhere between the four separate areas, including the majestic Rabozaal, and the coiling hallways that lead you there. Some of the names throughout the weekend include The OrbTama SumoOptimo and Jackmaster (full night line-up here) and yet again, Dekmantel showcase their prowess in offering a huge collection of talent with focus on great music as opposed to specific genres or styles.

It is clear that Dekmantel are continuing their strive towards building the greatest city festival in Europe. It oozes quality – from locations to the talent, everything has been meticulously planned in order to create an atmosphere like none other and if you are one of the lucky ones that managed to grab a ticket, I salute you as we are in for a ride.

http://www.dekmantelfestival.com/

Zutekh Presents: Ricardo Villalobos, at Gorilla

Mar
14

It’s the first time since 2012 that Ricardo Villalobos has graced the damp streets of Manchester with his world-renowned minimal magic. So it’s with heavy anticipation that I approach the entrance to Gorilla and descend into it’s dark steamy underbelly. It’s about half eleven and already the place is being filled with an eager looking crowd. A lively warm up set from Zutekh’s, Daniel ‘Quixano’ Henriques fuels the building energy, as the room steels itself for a night that many have waited too long for . As the floor begins to fill up the atmosphere is one of anxious anticipation, it’s tight but there is space to manoeuvre. Space which is being utilised to the full by the white leather jacket in front of me, who seems intent on teaching anyone who will listen how to slut drop.

Photo by Gemma Parker Photography

In what seemed like no time fellow Chilean DJ Umho, with a face dominated by a wide cheeky grin, takes over the decks. Since playing alongside Villalobos at Cocoon, Amnesia in 2009 Umho has spent the last six years spreading his spellbinding minimal tech sets all over the world, in a style he calls “groove travelling”. He warms up the scene well, moving away from the more hard-hitting tech house, settling the show into a much more subtle, elegant sound, caressing the amassed with warm kicks and euphoric melodies. The set continues to maraud through the night, gathering a steady momentum that charges the room. The strip lighting and well refined sound system – kudos to Zutekh – start to come into their own, delivering an enthralling and engaging wave of atmospheric bliss.

The scene is set perfectly, as a blast of appreciation from the crowd heralds the return of the maestro himself, the four-year wait is quickly forgotten as the humid energy reaches fever pitch. The intimacy of the night takes hold, an international headliner playing to 700 people, as the four to the floor techno kicks whip the crowd into a cluster bomb. Villalobos floats the vocals from C’hantal ‘The Realm’ over the driving melody of ‘Hows Your Evening So Far?’ Josh Wink & Lil Louis, masterfully moulding the crowd into one giant restless wave. Constantly keeping the crowd in limbo between recognition and uncertainty, unable to identify seemingly familiar tracks I was never really certain of what I was hearing.

The effect was completely hypnotic, I found myself craving each change in bassline or key, just desperate to hear what he was going to do next. Momentarily the trance was broken as the crowd respond to Josh Wink’s ‘Higher State of Consciousness’ with outstretched arms and a bellow of appreciation. A spectacle which, over three and a half hours became something a ritual, as Villalobos with a deep, devious grin on his face filled the room with resounding, unrestrained techno, from all corners of the globe.

Photo by Gemma Parker Photography

Heading home, out in the inky early morning dampness, I was more than impressed with everything the night had to offer. Both of the Chilean spinners held nothing back, and looked like they were genuinely enjoying themselves as much as everyone else. Zutekh didn’t put a foot wrong either, providing a good sound system and creating a captivating atmosphere, without overfilling the venue. Lets just not leave it another four years ey?

Check out Zutekh’s Facebook page for more events!

Dekmantel Reveal Colossal Lineup For 2016

Feb
23

If you weren’t already dribbling with excitement over the prospect of another year of Amsterdam’s Dekmantel festival, then, well.. what’s wrong with you? Even a quick glance at the lineup announcement should be enough to make you look like you need treatment for rabies. It’s an absolute monster.

Set in the idyllic ­ and enormous ­ Amsterdamse Bos forest, about 20 minutes outside the city centre, Dekmantel is thought of as one of the best techno and house festivals on the European calendar and its a reputation which has been snowballing year on year. Ever since more humble beginnings as a series of events and parties (not all legal) in and around Amsterdam, curators Thomas Martojo, Casper Tielrooij ­ and more recently Matthijs Theben Terville ­have faithfully nurtured their concept with an unwavering and inherently simple philosophy “we’re not a festival that changes the lineup year on year” “We’d rather focus on quality.”

Just by taking a quick glance at the latest lineup release you can see what they mean, a good number of this year’s artists and selectors are tried and tested Dekmantel veterans. Theo Parrish, Robert Hood, and Moodymann return, harking back to 2007/8, when Thomas and Casper brought Detroit’s uniquely industrial stylings to Amsterdam’s ­ at the time­ minimal house focused scene. Ben UFO, San Proper and Juju & Jordash also represent a significant part of Dekmantel history, the latter pair being the first to put out EPs on Dekmantel’s own label. The more recent release of EPs from New Jersey master Joey Anderson, and accomplished Ukrainian producer Vakula, not to mention an ongoing partnership with Robert Hood really bolt down a flourishing feeling of trust surrounding the label. Both working on the basis that they “need to release it, because it needs to be heard” the pair further established the Dekmatnel name as a bustling hive of raw talent.

With a long line of successful events and a contact list that would be any promoter’s wet dream it’s no wonder the Dekmantel name has become synonymous with excellence, and looking at the list of djs gracing the selector stage this year you can see why: Ricardo Villalobos, Dixon, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Jackmaster, Nina Kraviz, The Black Madonna, Tale of Us, Fatima Yamaha, Rødhad and Ben Klock all make up just a glimpse of what an utter dream of lineup the trio of music devotees have put together, putting pay to the strong Dekmantel ethos ­celebrating artists that simply need to be heard.

Also on the bill are a number of scintillating partnerships which are not to be missed. 808 state’s Graham Massey and ‘Voodoo Ray’ creator A Guy Called Gerald reunite to showcase a live all-­analogue acid house set. Ben UFO and Joy Orbison also team up again, spinning anything that falls between house and techno, as well as local boys Antal and Hunee putting together what is sure to be a lively and soulful collaboration.

For those who just don’t know when to go to bed, the festivities will continue well after the sun goes down at the long-established Melkweg (Milky Way) club, which will play host to the likes of, Jackmaster, Legowelt (live) and a dizzying swathe of exciting up and coming talent. The festival will kick off on the 4th of August with a series of opening events dotted around the city, all connected by a free ferry, neat huh?

The full line up can be found here, tickets here. Dekmantel will run from the 4th – 7th of August.

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.