You wouldn’t normally associate early September with beaches, forts, moats and bass lines but Dimensions Festival isn’t your average early week in September. Viewed by many as the perfect end of the summer – it’s not hard to see why; beaches, burgers, and clear waters and no sign of late summer fatigue (especially in such a festival season latecomer) dimensions is something a bit different. Those who have already heard of Dimensions Festival will be no stranger to the fact that Croatia is now the ‘go-to-place’ for summer bass driven events, and with that being said Dimensions 2013 clearly boasts one of the most strategically assembled and sought after line ups to date.
The Opening Ceremony
Most large festival’s these days strive to give its ‘go-er’ us that ‘full-packaged experience’. Dimension’s opening ceremony was no corner cutter, in fact it was a breathtaking example of what can be achieved with careful planning and perfect execution. The Amphitheaters stage and sound easily took as many breaths as the main performances and it would seem as though a new benchmark has now been set. Mount Kimbie and Bonobo’s exceptional live presentations of their albums’ early material (on a Roman stage) restored that euphoric–esque ‘calm before the storm’ which was ever so needed at a bass-heavy festival. The live voice of Szjerdene (featured heavily on Bonobo’s 2013 spring masterpiece, The North Borders) belted throughout the town of Pula, meanwhile Bonobo, AKA Simon Green, demonstrated his talent by jumping effortlessly from the Akai MPD 32 to the bass guitar to polish his live performance further; the whole experience was nothing short of spectacular (see below). We can safely say that it will take a lot for 2014 to top this year, but nonetheless we are confident that they will.
The 4-day extravaganza began after the storms of Outlook Festival; new arrivals settled in and the beaches began to populate to the soundtrack of the worlds best DJ’s aided by 10ft speaker racks and the cheap yet refreshing local grapefruit beer. The vibes continued to be felt throughout the day from the beaches to the campsites. Set’s from artists such as Floating Points, provided festival-goers with some the most eclectic sounds of Croatia ’13. They continued to showcase world music at its greatest, from soulful house dubs to Latin groove B-sides and an abundance of international flavours in between.
As the nights drew in, stages such as The Clearing played host to renowned DJ’s including Giles Peterson, who once again proved why he is still regarded one of the world’s most respected DJs. His 20 years of broadcasting experience was immediately evident from his performance at The Clearing where he delivered a crowd-pleasing set that was not to be missed. Mixing world music like no other, Giles drifted from samba to soulful influenced techno, yes soulful techno, through it electronic ‘future-synth-style’ beats whilst keeping the interest levels attained and the optimum energy levels high.
The ‘Outside The Fort’ stage demonstrated why it was host to some of the greatest acts of Dimensions. Not only did it boast one of the most clear and crisp sounds of the whole of Outlook, but to our delight, it had been reinforced with extra speakers for Dimensions. This meant double the watts…and consequently the ecstasy, as it gave stages like Benji B’s Deviation and South London based label night, Church, the chance to satisfy crowds not only once but twice. The Deviation stage was Benji B’s baby. It was Benji’s chance to bring to life some funky bass vibes that he spins on his radio shows and with special guests such as Omar S and Gerd Janson it was the complete performance, especially seeing as they are the go-to magicians in terms of soulful techno and harder hitting sounds from Detroit and Europe.
Church really tested the sound system to beautiful effect, the aggressive techno and juke sounds brought the tempo’s past the 128 BPM mark and the brought sounds to a darker, more hard-hitting level.
The 17 year old Happa seamlessly infused tracks like Blawan’s ‘Bodies Under My Garage’ alongside his own industrial sound gave the audience a peak into the future of techno and the talent exuberated from such a young producer who’s age group is not deemed synonymous with the thatcher-oppressed techno industrial acid that England took under its wing in the late 80s and early 90s.
The ‘Fort Arena 1’ stage played host to the talented Martyn, warping sounds and feeding our brains with his forward-thinking take on techno-influenced stage music. The grooves and swings he mixes give a new education amongst some of the more mundane 4×4 beats you hear at many other festivals. Prosumer added another flavour to the mix; with the best in 90’s Chicago and New York-style garage-house merged with his vintage Berlin trusted techno and minimal tech that he is famous for spinning well into the early hours of the next morning. Bicep also shined showing their variation in performance and adapting to the festival scene, playing a more tech-influenced progressive sound than usual. Their energy was undeniably felt by the always-receptive international crowds, finishing their set with the epic Sacrifice collaboration with Simian Mobile Disco, which really encompassed the vibe of Fort Area 1.
The organisation of all the stages meant that the whole festival worked to a cohesive brilliance. On one side of the camp there was Dark Sky playing in the dungeon, the smallish area that most resembled a roman structure. Their 909 infused world techno set was deep to say the least, clearly mixing new bass music with the more obscure sounds, playing all the tracks that they love so much. Krystal Klear also occupied the dungeon, where he gave us his usual up-tempo disco and house combinations, bouncing grooves and funky bass lines, signature to that day’s sound in the dungeon stage. All whilst on another side of the camp, there was Pearson Sound playing similar vibes to Dark Sky in the moat spinning tunes such as the aggressive yet melodic ‘Body Armour’ by Special Request in the converted Roman moat rigged with bass-bins as far as the eye can see.
Alongside all the Bass, House, Techno and world music there was a strong Hip-hop influence present. Artists and DJ’s such as Tall Black Guy, fLako and Lefto all took to the beach to perform their glitch, wobbly, soulful and dilla-esque music so heavily associated with the West Coast beat scene. Nonetheless all three threw down some old school hip-hop throwbacks in the mix too – perfect beach music.
The 3 Chairs provided the festival’s finale performance. Marcellus Pitman, Moodyman and Theo Parrish gave a truly educational lesson in Detroit techno and ‘deep and soulful’ house for anyone confused on their labels and classifications. The disco, boogie, rare groove and funk specialists took the ravers on a journey with a collection of essential history lessons in black American music, to put it lightly. The crowd’s energy remained at the highest level, even throughout the rain and storm warnings on the final night.
The Dimensions sound was perfectly balanced for the music connoisseur and the hedonistic ravers alike, with more of a mature themed line up than some of its neighboring counterparts. It retains the satisfaction from those who stayed on throughout Outlook and also adds the extra step in terms of the consistency in the quality of music. Make sure to keep an eye out for the 2014 line up announcement which we are sure will once again boast one of the best world line ups that any international festival will have to offer.