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Dimensions is Croatia's most assured house and techno festival

The festival turned five years old this summer

  • Words: Marc Rowlands | Image: Dan Medhurst
  • 2 September 2016
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Patsy Gallant 'It'll All Come Around'

Hunee and Antal, The Void, Saturday

The Void area on Saturday night is a big space dedicated to Amsterdam's Rush Hour record store/label, but over successive summers its standard bearers like Young Marco, Hunee and Antal have proved their capabilities in front of large festival audiences with their sometimes deep-dug, sometimes classic selections of disco, house and techno. Appearing as first representative is Kai Alce who is based in Atlanta, as is his NDATL label. His productions are superb, deep house and offbeat grooves par excellence that take in both his birthplace of New York and his training ground of Detroit. His label is also superb. However the same high proficiency and standards it would be difficult to ascribe to every DJ set this Mixmag writer has ever witnessed from him. Next up is Soichi Terada, who plays live most of the tracks reissued on his Rush Hour album and does so incredibly well. He's a grateful and enthusiastic performer and alongside the quality of the house music he performs, is capable of winning over an audience with such attributes. Hunee and Antal smash it out of the park, again and among many fast-paced numbers this significantly slower slice of blue-eyed soul stood out.

Blake Baxter 'When A Thought Becomes You'

Intergalactic Gary, The Moat, Sunday

Christ, there's a lot of house and techno in this place. The kick drum becomes numbing and the rhythm uninspiring at some points because you're so overexposed to it. There are moments when a DJ surprises though, moments of inspiration, unique moments provided by special DJs that make you, no matter how weary, fall in love with the dance all over again. On Saturday many such moments arrive, not least from hugely experienced, Manchester-based DJ Jon K, who knows enough about so many genres of music that his knowledge dwarfs that of many of the new school European headliners lauded elsewhere in this review. Bradley Zero provides such moments. Criminally underrated Chicago DJ Gene Hunt provides such moments. And the broken beat onslaught of UK originals Mark Force, IG Culture and Alex Phountzi in The Stables provides such moments. Another comes when Intergalactic Gary drops this melodic and beyond moody Detroit masterpiece in The Moat on Sunday.

Steve Poindexter 'Computer Madness'

Motor City Drum Ensemble, The Clearing, Sunday

Maybe Mixmag is tired from several days of the rave but Sunday's final day produces several 'meh' moments. These come namely from Hiatus Kaiyote (who we'd been looking forward to), Nightmares On Wax, Mood II Swing (whose productions we love), Space Dimension Controller (who would do better to focus his controlling on tune selection) and, most upsetting, from K Alexi, one of the few legendary figures of Chicago house we'd never seen before and a gentleman we have huge respect for (we put his overtly classic tune selection down to the nerves of a veteran completely at a loss to understand the demographic and knowledge of his audience). One virtual guarantee of a good time on this stage though comes in the form of Motor City Drum Ensemble, a Dimensions favourite who lives up to expectations with another enthused performance. “He did some ridiculous thing where he switched a record from 45rpm to 33rpm to construct a breakdown, then obviously pressed 45rpm to switch it back up,” the aforementioned Andrew Hill from Abandon Silence tells me. “I've never seen anyone do that before. It was ridiculous.” This Chicago classic, which sounds like a cross between that city's vintage house and a Sheffield bleep tune, was just one of MCDE's highlights in a set that brought a wonderful end to proceedings.

Marc Rowlands is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Mixmag

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