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In Review: Dimensions Festival 2017

6th edition of Dimensions solidifies its reputation as one of Europe’s best festivals

In Review: Dimensions Festival 2017

Zipping along the road into Pula city as if my rented hybrid was a rainbow’s express to the pot of gold that was Dimensions Festival. My endeavour to the idyllic Fort Punta Christo saw Dimensions finesse their sharp focus on sound and production. The carefully curated and diverse programme of house, techno, disco, jazz, funk, soul, and drum and bass flavours, coupled with impressive audio equipment, boat parties and surreal aesthetics made the wet weekend phenomenal.

Fort Punta Christo | Digital Anthill

In usual Dimensions style, every well-considered detail mirrors its environment. The opening ceremony is held in Pula’s mystical amphitheatre. The 100 ft Roman wall caresses the stage and captivating headliners bind music lovers. This year, an icon not only in music but the fashion and film circles, Grace Jones spell bound her spectators with her gyrating hips that hula hooped the endurance of her classic Slave To The Rhythm. Even if you didn’t know the songs and simply ruffled your eyebrows, the 69 year olds high energy, and the visually extravagant show was undeniably enchanting. Afterwards, Moderat demanded presence with their renowned melodic sounds. The Berlin trio’s gritty synths and ambient transitions, in their much-anticipated spectacle, made you want to pitch camp in their hypnotic trance.

The intimate gathering provided a glimpse into the world ravers were to call home for the next five days. We knew this was going to be another special moment along the peninsula.

Amphitheatre | Dan Medhurst

Dimensions is largely a nocturnal festival. The day sees the sun laden beach as an oasis for last night’s hangover (unless you attended that stamina testing psytrance shindig on the other side of the beach), ensuring you don’t miss your favourite selectors. Chilled beats drift on sea and air waves from The Beach Party, where punters take it easy sipping cocktails, bouncing on and off water inflatables, and venture out into the mesmerising blue.

At 8pm things start to gather in pace. Clashes begin and it’s time to make decisions. After a five minute walk from the beach, the festival site opens and you are confronted with the astounding main stage, The Clearing. Floating Points was dependable as ever with his unfolding visuals and textual noises. The dubstep pioneer Mala laid whopping bass in Mungo’s Hi-Fi, an arena equipped with the “tower of power”. Manchester’s vinyl only night, ‘House of Wax’, is booking him for the second time this year. The Moat was Thursday’s final destination. The stage is a ruin of the Fort’s moat. The long dark passage cultivates a devastating eardrum deafening that is quick to become people’s favourite stage with an undeniably memorable experience. There was no better backdrop for an electronic Viking Pearson Sound.

The Moat | Dan Medhurst

As the sun fell on Friday flashes illuminated the sky. A cohort of roars came loose from the campers after the first thunder roll ripped. We were no match. The heavens literally opened pouring buckets onto the site. It all happened so quickly. Festival site evacuated. Music cut. Huddled around the already dying mini-rig, we waited for the party’s resurrection. The washing rooms next to the campsite toilets were crammed with people playing disco and funk to keep the spirits high.

With new set times etched on blackboards and plastered throughout social media I knew the organisers were fully committed to delivering to its loyal followers an issue that some festivals do overlook. I headed to Maurice Fulton, whose vast collection of belters was hard not to enjoy at the revered Void stage. Elsewhere Dan Shake, Marcel Dettman, and Romare played lengthy sets, delighting the crowd who believed the show would not go on.

Beach Party groove-ments from Antal warmed me up for another stormy night. The co-founder of Amsterdam's Rush Hour record shop played mostly a disco set. Determined to lay my eyes on something new, and deciding against one of my favourites Daphni aka Caribou, I watched London Modular Alliance. And wow, this was the first set all summer that completely stunned me. The improvisational jam was neither overstuffed nor empty. The structure-less and unusual set of sparse basslines and subtle melodies pumped energy that the pelting rain stripped me of. There is no doubt LMA aired some jams from their new EP Hands & Brains on the Dimensions Recordings Label. This surprising and eerie set and the attitude of The Void’s dedicated few with their so-called waterproofs formed an unforgettable night. DynArec’s live set assaulted The Moat’s melting walls. Undeniably intense, the bodies that filled the ditch were ready for battle. Soaked through, I caught the end of the Theo Parish 8hr marathon before hitting the hay.

Cult favourites Telefon Tel Aviv’s ambient and arresting live set mesmerised The Garden. The Chicago-based American electronic act shared their first track in over 8 years in May, Something Akin To Lust. The track repetitively mixes drones and synths, being both complex and minimal. Telefon Tel Aviv is now being pursued as a solo project and I can only speculate the production will continue to draw influence from the cherished Aphex Twin and Autechre. Definitely one to keep an eye on. As Mndsgn’s boat party set was cancelled earlier due to weather, the vaguely psychedelic hip-hop artist picked up from JonWayne in The Stables. With his adventurous and emotional funk sound married to lyrics about human connection, its crystal why his alias is shortened from ‘Mind Design’. Back at Mungo’s Hifi, the tectonic label founder Pinch did not disappoint playing wobbley thuds, which was ridiculously fun splashing in the pools that remained. I last witnessed Tama Sumo b2b Lakuti closing this 19th century treasure trove.

Mungos Hi-fi | Dan Medhurst

Of course, an impeccable line up bolsters any festival. But with Dimensions’ combination of diverse musical offerings, a team dedicated to detail, crafted sound system, wonderful backdrop, and a far reaching crowd focussed on music and not just partying. Its impressive standard that many festivals aspire to meet is evident.

See you in Fort next year!

Written by
Jade Findlater
12th September 2017

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