Dekmantel festival comes with a reputation like only a few others out there. Bringing together artists, representing labels and offering a weekender not only full of fantastic sound-system but also well-curated stages and impeccable surroundings makes it arguably one of the most important European destinations for electronic music. Taking place in the Amsterdamse Bos and other various locations around IJ-river, the festival customarily makes way for contemporary tastemakers and emerging talent, without losing sight of dance music’s legacy and roots.
Starting early, Wednesday program opens up with a concert of a band whose catalogue spans over 100 albums and is closely entwined with the mysterious nature of their music and spaced-out hypno rock led by proto-techno of their decade on Virgin Records – Tangerine Dream. One of the most singular and influential acts of the electronic era are followed the next day by one of the most prolific Japan’s artists Yasuaki Shimizu, whose work has recently seen a renewed interest, especially the reissue of 1982’s Kakashi – a record with a striking cat painted on a cover, that holds a simmering ambient and jazz within it.
The stage will also be joined by the local Dutch hero and Knekelhuis label owner Mark van de Maat teaming up with Parrish Smith for a live act as Volition Immanent. With this performance Mark goes back to his punk roots, busting tough vocals and bringing to light Smith’s distorted sound frequencies.
The festival will largely remain familiar to those who’ve visited previously, however a small tweak of the stages will occur this year. Earlier, UFO used to be a sweaty arena for techno devotees marching in front of the gates from 1PM and rarely leaving the dance floor until the next day 11PM. This year the festival will host a second, smaller-scaled stage UFO II, covering more dark and experimental sounds brought directly from the nights in clubs. Full of smoke and draped in simple, coloured lighting, it will be joined by Dekmantel label member Parrish Smith, post-punk weight lifter Elena Colombi and Golden Pudel Club resident Phuong-Dan. We will also be able to hear British EBM trampler Broken English Club performing live, Russian acid producer Gesloten Cirkel and Salon des Amateurs regular Toulouse Low Trax.
Having recently visited an intimate Strange Sounds From Beyond festival, it will be possible to get lost in the affair Dekmantel did with inviting Red Light Radio stage to theirs once again. This year they’re having loads of rising talents and favourites opening the program with the radio’s boss Orpheu The Wizard and closing down the third day with a lady in charge of the Paris department of LYL Radio – OKO DJ.
Night program of Dekmantel will welcome at Shelter and RADION spaces where parties will include a line-up of such artists like Hivern Disc’s John Talabot, Joy Orbison, a local hero Young Marco and will also bring a new comer to the space, yet completely well-known by now to all of us – Intergalactic Gary – and ever inspiring Lena Willikens. Just recently, Dekmantel and Grolsch have presented their first partnership video in the 2018 Selectors documentary series staring Lena as a musician and artist, where within the 9-minute long documentary, she shows a side of herself that connects her strong and never-ending love for music and art. Besides including her time as an art student and taking her turn to music, it puts a spotlight on how Willikens uses her music as a way to express herself in general.
Next to the music program, EYE Filmmuseum will hold a vast amount of extracurricular activities. Attendees will be able to see documentaries about festival’s headliners Tangerine Dream and a bunch of other artists and attend talks organised by Dekmantel in collaboration with Resident Advisor.
Since the day one, Dekmantel festival’s operation has showcased a broad taste in music that ranges from Detroit techno to Brazilian rarities, challenging to combine Italo disco and ambient music under few united roofs. Veterans and pioneers of certain music styles and new generation talents – all gather together to prove that there is something to unite us all, and now we’re coming to experience Dekmantel, an important section of electronic music spectrum.