D_Know’s Picks: Dekmantel
In Part One, we looked at the structure of the festival and why it is important within the global electronic music scene. For Part Two, D_Know has put together an eclectic mix of his picks for the festival. The line-up covers a large scope of genres and artists and therefore the mix aims to reflect that diversity and provide some insight into a selection of the event’s key performers.
- Legends Pick
Lee “Scratch” Perry and The Full Experiences – Disco Devil
Black Art 
The king of dub! I remember hearing his stuff as a kid and being blown away. His innovation in the studio inspired many great ideas for a variety of off-shoot genres (think dub-techno etc.). At 80 years old, it will without a doubt be a rare privilege to see him perform live (and at Dekmantel, it will be alongside another legend of the Dub game, Adrian Sherwood).
This particular track is with ‘The Full Experience”, one of Perry’s many side-projects, and was first released towards the end of the 70s. The opening lyric “Lucifer son of the mourning, I’m gonna chase you out of earth…” is one that has stuck with me for many years – pioneering stuff!
- Other Genre Pick
Digital Mystiks – Anti-War Dub ft. Spen G (Original Mix)
Another set of pioneers! These guys were at the forefront of the early UK dubstep scene. Heavily influenced by dub and reggae, Mala & Coki [as they are known individually] were responsible for releasing some seriously dark, sub-heavy hitters, most of which were pressed to wax on their own label, DMZ.
This track was released in 2006 on their above-mentioned label DMZ and samples reggae vocals and tribal percussion without forgetting that classic Dub-style delay. To me, this is dubstep at its purest and finest – Digital Mystiks are sure to provide the crowd with something a bit unexpected for a festival known primarily for House and Techno.
- Inspired Pick
D_Know – In Dub (Original Mix)
This is an unreleased track of my own. I decided to include it because I feel that it provides a good flow from the previously mentioned tracks into a classic Four-to-the-Floor groove. In addition, I think it shows how the sounds of Dub have influenced house and techno. For this track, I made particularly strong use of Dub style delays, along with chord stabs reminiscent of early dub techno (such as Basic Chennel, Maurizio etc.) without losing the harder-edged, jacking style that I love.
- Dekmantel Pick
Makam – Loleatta (Original Mix)
Although this track wasn’t released on Dekmantel’s record label, Makam is has been a Dekmantel mainstay from the early days. Loleatta is another one of those tracks that I remember being blown away by in my first ventures into the more contemporary sounds of house and techno. Makam is one of those DJs who really knows how to flow between House and Techno in an intelligent way, proving his versatility time-and-time again.
In this track, he shows his class by taking an archetypal soul vocal sample (by way of Loleatta Hollway) from a slow, pitched-down rhythm in the intro to a full-on, jacking techno stomper half way into the arrangement.
- Melkweg Pick
DJ Bone – Cultural Variance (Original Mix)
DJ Bone is hands-down my pick for the Nighttime program at Melkweg. One of the Detroit legends being included this year, he is known for setting a fast pace with infectious groove and entrancing minimalism.
Cultural Variance was released in 2014 on Leftroom Records and provides the listener with a ten-minute sonic journey of samples from tribal African chanting to classic Detroit synths and piano stabs. Particularly fitting for a diverse festival like Dekmantel, this track blends a variety of references (hence it’s name) whilst still maintaining its strong dancefloor capabilities.
- Detroit Pick
Jeff Mills – Casa (Original Mix)
As I mentioned in Part One, the Detroit contingent for this year’s festival is particularly strong (already having mentioned DJ Bone above). But it is without a doubt that the man the call ‘The Wizard’ is one to make a point of seeing. Jeff Mills has become something of a household name amongst house and techno-heads for his innovation in the early days of techno and for his particularly high level of skills in the studio that are still marveled over to this day by renowned colleagues such as Robert Hood (who is also on the line-up!
Released on his own label Axis in the mid-nineties as a part of his legendary Purpose Maker series, Casa showcases a standard of techno that set the bar for many of today’s more ‘modern’ productions. Relying on infectious tribal-esque looping rhythms and a re-sampled guitar stab along with Mill’s signature 909 drum sequencing, the track ebbs and flows perfectly to create a dance-floor journey that would still fire up and any current club or festival.
- Non-Euro Pick
Elad Magdasi – Finger Trip (Matrixxman remix)
Front Left Records 
Taking nothing away from the great producer that is Elad Magdasi, the focus for this one is on American techno producer Matrixxman. Another name that stuck in my mind from my early forays into the genre, Matrixxman quickly got the attention of many labels and artists with his diverse production style that has a clear affinity for the analogue-based sounds of the past (particular that of his native America).
For this remix, he follows a similar arrangement to that of Mill’s Casa. Going full force within the first 16 bars, he captures a similar looping sensibility through rolling snares and rough percussion along with some great 909 work as well. Released on Magdasi’s Front Left label at the beginning of this year, it is clear that the earlier sounds of dance still play a large role in shaping the sounds of today, which, if you look at Dekmantel this year, is an interesting characteristic that seems to apply to many of the younger artists on the line-up.
- Off-The-Beaten-Track Pick
Dasha Rush – Ocean Shy (Original Mix)
Deep Sound Channel 
Dasha Rush is an artist that has interested me for some time now. A greatly talented and diverse artist, she produces anything for ambient soundscapes to thunderous techno club bangers. Often playing a full live set, she is one of the producers within the handful of female artists on the line-up that develops her craft with supreme authenticity. Having played festivals as varied as Ultra and Awakenings, she never compromises her unique stage presence and energy (look at her CTM Festival set for Boiler Room for example – a one hour ambient/experimental live set in which she covered her face with a masquerade cat mask)
Released on Dutch label Deep Sound Channel in 2014, Ocean Shy is a stunning piece of ambient, analogue driven electronica. The sounds are still rooted in techno with modular bleeps and a mono synth-line, however there is no sign of kick drums or percussion, just a stripped down, pure sonic journey – and this is the exciting thing about Dasha, you just don’t know what to expect!
Follow D_Know’s journey