Warehouse Project: RA x Dekmantel Saturday 10th Oct Store Street, Manchester
Dekmantal festival, returning last summer for only it’s 3rd time, has quickly become one of the most respected and sort after festivals in Europe. Taking place in Amsterdam’s beautiful Amsterdam Bos park, situated a short distance outside the city centre. The festival was home to some of the best names in Techno, House, Disco and left-field electronic music. As it’s acclaim as one of Europe’s best small festivals grows, Dekmantel have started to spread their vision across to one off events on English soils. With their team curating a stella line up of some of Dekmantel’s highlights and bringing some friends along too. The whole night really did feel like a homage to some of the stand out moments of this summer festival.
The first port of call was heading straight to room 1 for Berlin’s own Techno princess Nina Kraviz, who’s sets over the years have gradually leaned more towards the heavier aspects of electronic genre. Her set on the night was a fantastic blend of Berlin style Techno, playing many tracks recognisably off the infamous Berghain label ‘Ostgut Ton’ and Ben Klock’s own label ‘Klockworks’. This was all beautifully blended with heavy ‘Acid’ tracks like Takura’s ‘Storm’ and what I could only assume to be a remix of Green Velvet’s ‘The Stalker.’ Having missed Nina’s set at this years Dekmantel I was very pleased to have the chance to watch her put in an absolutely blinding hour and a half set. Reactions online suggest that many thought her set was one of the best of the night. After Nina, there was no real reason to move from your spot in Room 1 as Ben UFO, Jackmaster and Joy Orbison were given 2 hours b2b2b. Triple back to back sets can be tricky, especially when you have 3 artists who each have a very individual style to bring to a set. More isn’t always better, and 3 people all trying to put forward their own style can leave a crowd feeling alienated or at least left confused by the constant switching up for styles or genres. But these 3 artists clearly understand each other and have a great ear for what tracks might follow on well from the previous section. Having a pretty decent spot near the front of Room 1 for most of this set I was able to see who was behind the decks for most of the set. Ben UFO mostly played tribal sounding tracks and more bouncy House and Disco cuts, I’m sure I heard a few tracks by Optimo, Move D and Owiny Sigoma Band. Ben’s selections brought me right back to the Hessle Audio set in the blazing sun at this years Dekmantel, another highlight of the entire festival. Joy Orbison set the room off with tracks like Rex The Dog’s huge bass track ‘Sicko’ and as always an absolute strew of unreleased tracks from himself and his collaborations with Boddika (who played earlier in the evening also). Jackmaster played the uplifted sort of House and Techno which was also another reason Dekmantel 2015 was so hard to get over in the weeks after. Playing Floor Plan’s (aka Robert Hoods) seminal track Never Grow Old (Re-Plant) which at this caused the same reaction as it did at Floorplan’s Boiler Room set at Dekmantel. A true euphoric club moment. As back to back sets go you can’t really ask for too much more, a fantastic selection of House, Techno and Tribal music brought to you by three of the best selectors and producers in the game at the moment.
Although the nights ‘Headliner’ in the form of Four Tet was to follow in Room 1, I decided to duck out of the busy crowd and see another one of Dekmantel’s best sets. Berlin producer and DJ, Palms Trax who has been releasing his best work on London based record label Lobster Theremin. Leaving Room 1, it was amazing to have more dancing space for what I thought was one of the most interesting sets of the night. He started his set with vocal driven house but towards the end pushed for much heavier Techno cuts. Punctuating the set with some interesting remix’s like Caribou’s - Your Love Will Set You Free (c2's Set U Free Remix). In drink breaks I did manage to catch a small amount of Four Tet’s set from the back of Room 1. With luck apparently on my side I managed to catch the fantastic ‘Digital Arpeggios’ by Four Tet’s ‘Percussions’ side project which has a incredible 4 minute euphoric build up, finally dropping into perfectly crafted ‘Four Tet’ bass and percussion. I also managed to catch his latest remix which has been doing the rounds in clubs across the world in the form of Eric Prydz’s Opus (Four Tet Remix) another track which teases you with 7 minutes of growing build up before a huge bass driven drop, not quite like anything Four Tet has put out before, a track that certainly might divide Four Tet fans down the middle. Regardless, it seemed to work perfectly for one of his last tracks of the night.
Dixon was given the job to play out Room 1 to till the 5.00am finish. He certainly kept the crowd going with a collection of his own remixes like Equinox (Henrik Schwarz Remix - Dixon Edit) and tracks which i have previously heard from his recent Boiler Room like AKASE’s – Rust (Midland Remix). I am not sure if the 5.00am finishing slot for some of Dixon’s choices was ideal however, some of the slower more ambient tracks left the crowd wanting for something a bit heavier. However by the time I was queuing for my last cigarette of the night it sounded like he had fully won the room back. With most of Room 1 staying right to last track.
As mentioned previously the whole of the night felt like a homage to the best bits of Dekmantel’s 2015 festival. With certain tracks bringing me straight back to those day time Disco and House sets or the heavy Techno sets which closed the ‘Main’, ’UFO’ and ‘Boiler Room’ stages from the likes of Marcel Dettman, Rodhad, Nina Kraviz and Ben Klock. If you had not experienced Dekmantel before, the night's line up certainly gave you more than a taste of what the festival had to offer, and if you had, it was a joy to relive some of it’s best moments your home town.
Words by Stan Platford Photos courtesy of Jody Hartley