Review: Dimensions Festival 2019
This year marked the last time Fort Punta Cristo played host to Dimensions. Mutterings of where to next for the standout festival were heard across the beach over the weekend – Tisno? Portugal? Albania? Wherever it turns out to be, ‘The Last Dance’ at the fort lived up to its expectations, with four days of sunshine and an outstanding programme of DJs and live acts featuring some of dance music’s most revered artists. Here are some of our highlights from the weekend.
The Pickle Factory Boat Party
One of the first dances came aboard the vessel helmed by The Pickle Factory. The Leeds-based Butter-Side-Up cofounders Hamish & Toby opened up with a mixture of hazy rollers under the beating sun before handing over to Pickle’s long-standing resident Jane Fitz. She plunged straight into her signature journey of murky, tripped-out sonics, closing on the spine-tingling Icy Lake – ‘Dat Oven’, and later carried her form to The Moat, where she continued to challenge dancers with more impressive blends. The depths of Fitz’ selections combined with the punishing heat tired the crowd out more quickly than under the cover of darkness. But at this point Eris Drew took over, quickly shifting the mood with her upbeat house bangers, infectious dynamism and mad scratching. If you had to mark a climactic moment in that consistently high energy set, it would have to be dropping the 1993 gem Sublime – ‘Transamerican (LA Mix)’, which sent arms skywards as the boat approached the dock.
Following his unanimously acclaimed Compro last year, Skee Mask has established himself as one of the most in-demand DJs currently on the circuit. Though you may go to see him anticipating lots of hazy break-beats, his sets have the frenetic energy of Objekt-on-steroids, similarly hopping genres, pushing to extreme tempos, half-time mixes and whipping out the unexpected. His style was perfectly suited to Void, with its tunnel-like neon lights sucking dancers down the mind-scrambling wormhole. Very few moments of relief were offered – for those who saw the set through, he offered Conquest’s dubby ‘Forever’ as a palate cleanser ahead of DJ Nobu.
RA Zeostrasse Party
If partying in an abandoned fort didn’t seem a unique enough offer, Saturday night played host to a rave in a disused WWII tunnel with re:ni, Josey Rebelle, Call Super and Blawan on the controls. This stunning lineup took us through a whole mixture of genres from percussive rollers, broken techno and jacking electro. re:ni opened up with a meditative psychedelic selection, closing with a pitched-down version of Keplrr’s ‘Translucence’ somewhere in the mid-120s. The standout set of the party came from Josey, who gave the system a real workout through organic breaks, aggressive acid bumpers and old-school electro. Both of these sets are available to listen to here:
Call Super kept up Josey’s intensity, though the with sets being only an hour long, it felt as if he moved through styles and tempos ambitiously quickly, especially compared to his more carefully thought out hour-and-a-half-long set at The Moat on Sunday night. For the final hour, Blawan took over and demonstrated his prowess as one of purist techno’s finest DJs – the kick drums and high hats boomed through the tunnel till midnight, with punters totally transfixed by the careful balance of continuity and subtle changes.
The Clearing is a dauntingly large stage, one that demands a lot of emotional intensity to create a sense of intimacy between the DJ and the waves of dancers. Over the course of the weekend, nobody could have done a better job than Omar S, who thumped out heavy-hitter after heavy-hitter, working through euphoric Detroit techno, cheeky vocal bangers and driving acid. The warmth of the pads and smoothness of the basslines seemed to engulf the crowd and kept them dancing till 6am. The FXHE boss left no doubt in the lasting power of house and techno with this masterclass.