Played Out: Dekmantel Soundsystem Start The Festival Early

Dekmantel Soundsystem Played Out by Sophie van der Perre
Thomas of the mastermind DJ duo behind underground music's most exciting festival parses the eclectic, soulful selections that make a typical set shine.

PLACE: Dekmantel Festival’s opening day on the Amsterdamse Bos.
TIME: Mid-afternoon when the sun is shining.

1. Mass Production, “Welcome To Our World (Joey Negro Funk In The Music Remix)” (Z Records 2013)

Joey Negro expertly remixed this Mass Production classic, which has been sampled frequently—most notably by Moodymann on “Music People”. The vocal part at the beginning makes for a nice and subtle change of the atmosphere when taking over from the previous DJ.

Having caught everyone’s attention with the opening track, I always like to bring the energy levels down a bit afterwards, and “A Lil’ Tribute” has a melodic intro that creates a dreamy vibe and allows a long, fluid mix and a break from kicks before the drums come in.

2. 20 Below, “A Lil’ Tribute” (MCDE 2016)

Earlier this year we released the first Selectors compilation on Dekmantel Records, which was put together by Motor City Drum Ensemble. In my eyes, he’s one of the most knowledgeable collectors out there, and this beautiful and deep house tune is one of my favorite cuts included on the CD. An original pressing of this track from 1996 goes for silly money on Discogs.

Once the crowd has eased into our set, we like to use “Stash” to settle the mood. A nice, long mix works here.

3. Oliver Coates, “Stash” (PRAH 2016)

Oliver Coates was a new name to me, but apparently he’s a well-established and in-demand solo cellist who has done production work for the likes of Thom Yorke. He has just released a beautiful contemporary electronic album, and its closing track, “Stash”, is a perfect song to settle the mood once the crowd has eased into the set.

When it comes to mixing 4/4 tracks with another genre, you can pretty much chart your own path. However, you’ll have to make your transition within 30 seconds to do it before the melody shifts!

4. Jean-Luc Ponty, “In The Fast Lane” (CBS 1989)
There are tons of edits of “In The Fast Lane” available, but I strongly prefer the original one. This beast of a tune by Jean-Luc Ponty is a great one to play to pick up the pace and shift your set into second gear. Ponty is a French jazz violinist whose music somehow works surprisingly well on the dance floor. I’ve been playing this out for years now, and it always gets a great response from the crowd.

This is perhaps the peak-time banger transition of the bunch. Quick cuts lend themselves to a satisfying climax—and they’re kind of necessary when mixing unquantized beats.

5. Buari, “Advice From Father” (RCA 1975)

It’s hard to imagine anything more fun than dropping an African bomb during peak time and seeing a room full of dancers absolutely lose it. Buari’s classic “Advice From Father” is one of those tunes that always does the trick—not in the least due to its insanely catchy bassline.

The basslines on “Advice From Father” and “Deep Blue Meanies” actually go really nicely together, but when in doubt, loop the first eight bars of the incoming track so that you don’t have any problems with mixing in or out of key.

6. Juju & Jordash, “Deep Blue Meanies” (Dekmantel 2009)

This is arguably the most important track we’ve ever released on our imprint. Not only was it the first release, it has also definitely stood the test of time.

The break in the middle is a proper mindfuck, and one that’ll surely reset everyone’s state of mind, before closing out with the encore, which would be…

7. Rotary Connection, “I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun” (Cadet Concept 1984)

It’s a majestic piece of music, featuring the astonishingly beautiful voice of Minnie Riperton.

Cover photo by Sophie van der Perre. Dekmantel Festival kicks off August 4 in Amsterdam. Tickets are still available here.

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