Dekmantel Selectors has set the new benchmark of how a festival should be done. The incredible programming and production that Dekmantel consistently churns out, translated onto a beautiful beach location on the Adriatic; is an instant winning formula. Rather than give an extensive, long winded review of the event, we thought it better for all of our writers to focus on their three highlight acts and to give some depth into these performances. First up, Rory Tanner reveals his three standout acts of the festival.
As Sadar Bahar masterfully closed the Beach Bar Stage with the much loved Larry Levan Remix of Stand on the Word, a mysterious man rocking a luminous red shorts x headband combo kicked things off on the Main Stage. One of the true heads of the Rotterdam scene and the founder of Moustache Records, David Vunk piledrove his way to wider recognition through his standout set at Lente Kabinet Festival earlier in the year; playing a high-octane set full of italo and techno goodness, as well as somehow making a Duke Dumont tune popular… I really enjoyed his no-nonsense mixing and the constant thrashings of feel good energy that palpitated through his selections, and I was up for more of the same in Tisno. God dang, I was not disappointed. The man was a pure pleasure to watch behind the decks. Regularly sporting either an immense grin or his trademark bass face, he jumped around the booth with insane energy, and the passion for the music he was playing was evidenced by his repeated fanning of his record sleeves to the crowd, in true Ring Girl fashion. Some people might find stuff like this annoying, but I for one found it rather refreshing to see a DJ show no effort in attempting to conceal his secret weapons. The music he played was by all means as pleasant as his on-stage swagger. Although it was supposedly classed as a ‘warm-up’ slot, it absolutely wasn’t that, instead feeling like a carefully crafted burst of energy curated by a lifelong headliner. It certainly felt similar to his Lente Kabinet set, and songs such as Depeche Mode’s Strangelove and Company B’s Perfect Lover cropped up again. Yet, this was not a set for the chin-stroking enthusiasts, and instead was a full-on party set. These songs constituted a fraction of the anthems that he played throughout his set. As well as the ones’s mentioned, he played Taylor Hoodlum Stevenson’s Daeva, Prince’s When Doves Cry layered over a stomping techno tune, an edit of Michael Jackson’s Thriller and finished with Abba’s Lay All Your Love on Me. Perhaps most impressively, these songs didn’t even serve as highlights, as it was the obscure italo that ended up being the definitive standouts. I had never really seen italo be played out extensively to be honest, and I was so happy to see how good the crowd reaction was when he played them. Perhaps the best song he played was an unknown edit of Cyber People’s Void Vision, which is an absolute favourite of mine. I chatted to him a couple days later at the festival and eagerly asked what the edit was. Unfortunately, it was a private edit, of which he had the only copy in the world, to my disappointment. On the upside though, I at least left the festival satisfied that I saw such a standout act reveal his bombastic love affair to the music that he champions.
Check out this sexy mofo’s moves in the flesh here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BYXxlQ-g1_T/?taken-by=davidvunkmoustacherecords
Photo: Kasia Zacharko
I must be honest. I thought that Marco’s closing set on the Sunday would be his true breakout set. All the stars seemed to be aligning in his favour: Dekmantel focused their Selectors documentary series on him, he had designed the Dekmantel x Patta bandana, he was one of the only artists to play three times at Dekmantel Festival and was the only artist to play three times at Selectors. Everything seemed to be resting on this set to launch him towards the stratospheric levels of DJ stardom. However, I was bitterly disappointed. Everything about his set seemed lacklustre; from his song selection, to the crowd, and even the sound system. Although this was a tough pill to swallow (considering he’s my favourite DJ and I’d been hyping him up to everyone with barely concealed reverence), I was lucky to have at least witnessed one kickass Marco set at Selectors. His boat party with DJ Brka and San Proper was absolutely wicked. Coming on last after Brka’s brilliant set (with Chris Reas’ Josephine (French Edit) being a proper highlight) and San Proper’s train wreck of a set, due to an infuriating combination of his intoxicated state twinned with the rather awful idea of trying to mix vinyl on a windy, rocky boat… that being said, his song selection was sublime and his stage presence was fantastic so it wasn’t all bad. However, Marco completely blew him out the water. Fully utilising the boat’s punchy Funktion One system, he kicked off with a singalong to Carol Cool’s Upside Down. After that, he was off, and no one could stop him. He absolutely nailed the vibe of the party, playing unidentifiable, yet warmly familiar house and disco. A particular highlight was Bad Banana’s Dancing in San Francisco. When he played it, it seemed like everyone but me was instantly singing along to the chorus, and I went along with the idea that it must be some disco classic that everyone but me apparently knew. Afterwards however, I pressed my mates about it and none of them knew the song, but attested that they absolutely loved it. I realised then that Marco had uncovered an obscure gem that was so accessible that it seemed like an eternal classic, and that this was simply a really special tune. After this, if you can pardon the pun, he was plain-sailing. Yet what I perhaps most admired about his set was that after the Bad Banana tune he could’ve played a really easy set full of disco and house classics to appease the crowd. However, he took a huge tangent about 15 minutes out by playing the entirety of Francesco Tristano’s The Melody (C2’s Beatless Remix). I knew that he’d been playing this out loads recently, but was surprised to see him play it during a boat party. It absolutely captivated the crowd, as it is such a beautiful piece of music and its lack of percussion is very attention grabbing after nearly three hours of constant doof. As the sun dipped over the hills, being perched on a boat on the Adriatic and with those rolling chords spilling out the speakers; it truly felt like one of those magical moments that couldn’t be replicated anywhere else in the world. I guess this is what the old-school rave heads would call Balearic?
Photo: Kasia Zacharko
The Voodoo stage was easily the superior stage of the festival, and played host to a variety of stellar artists playing intelligent, intimidating and aggressive sets. Interstellar Funk and Lena Willikens both took the mantle of playing the weirdest and most mind-bending sets of the weekend, to the point where I literally could not pick out the genre of music that Lena was playing, which I think is pretty impressive. There were also several excellent headline sets, particularly by Solar b2b Joy Orbison and 909 fave Intergalactic Gary. However, there was one set that blew everything out the water. I’m not talking about all the sets on this stage. Nor am I talking about all the sets from this festival, or even this year. I’m not gassing when I say that Objekt’s closing set on the Friday night was by far and away the best set I have ever seen. I’ve never seen anything like it. The first hour and a half was to an extent a somewhat ordinary affair; riotous breaks and wacky electro (such as Robert Hood’s Razr and Japanese Telecom’s Cigarette Lighter) accompanied anthems like his own production Theme From Q and Secret Cinema’s House 22. It was great, but by no means legendary. However, about 25 minutes before he was meant to finish, his set started to take a new dimension. Things really started kicking off when he played another of his own songs, this time the seminal Ganzfeld, which might possibly be the most insane tune I’ve ever heard out. The incredible soundsystem at the Voodoo stage completely revitalised that song and its immense sound design was amazingly highlighted. Anyone that knows Objekt would know how rare it is for him to play this song out, and perhaps this can form some sort of a testament to how ridiculous this set was. From this point, the mesh of genres that Objekt was mixing was absolutely absurd. From what I remember, it was mainly rudeboi 140 electro being tangled together with jungle and techno. However, his fast paced chopping and mixing created such an insane party atmosphere that it soon became clear that this was not normal and something special was going on. In all honesty, however mad a dancefloor usually is, I almost always am too embarrassed to truly lose my shit, probably because I unfortunately think that I’m too cool to do that. This was different. This was the first time ever that I made a conscious decision to lose all inhibitions and to move however I truly felt. This rang true through the whole crowd. Limbs were flailing everywhere as people desperately tried to keep up with the relentless pace. I remember finally going tapps aff when he did a pull-up on DJ Surgeon’s Boss Up, as there was nothing more I could do to top the constant OIIIIIs that were being exclaimed everytime a new song jumped out of the speakers. Objekt ended up playing over 20 minutes longer than his advertised set time, and I romantically envisage that he was eagerly egged on by the Dekmantel staff to keep going cause no one wanted it to end! When he finally wrapped up his set, he did it in the most perfect way possible, by closing with Lanark Artefax’s Touch Absence. Wow. One of 909’s undisputed songs of the year… and he fucking closes the best set ever with it. It was absolutely amazing, and I’m not ashamed in admitting that it genuinely made me well up a little bit. A set that in the space of 20 minutes made me go tapps aff and almost cry should be enough to tell you how good this set was, and I was honoured to be able to witness a performance that felt like something that Aphex Twin wouldn’t even be able to conjure up. All hail the new king, man like muthafuckin’ Objekt!!