Sunny beaches, an extraordinary and groundbreaking lineup, 4 days filled with total joy and an opening concert in a 2000 years old amphitheater featuring Bonobo do sound like an attractive opportunity to escape everyday life. So after we’ve seen the tempting pictures and video’s from last year’s edition, and were impressed by the 2013 lineup we decided to book a flight to Pula to find out whether this festival is as impressive as it intends to be.
Croatia, which still recovers from the consequences from a cruel war, offers an idyllic decor to the Dimensions festival. The Istria region in North West Croatia also benefits from the festival; as thousands of tourist support the local economy by spending their money during their stay in and around Pula.
Lately we’ve seen several festivals coming to life in Croatia; Outlook, Dimensions, Unknown and Hide Out are probably the most common, but it’s safe to say many organizations did notice the opportunities and attraction Croatia has to offer. Instead of listing our daily activities like waking up with a crushing hangover or being hassled by the ‘friendly’ taxi ‘touts’ we will try to report the best musical highlights from this year’s Dimensions festival.
When you’re ‘participating’ in a concert in a 2000 year old amphitheater, many will be affected by nerves or other senses of uncertainty, especially if you’re ‘warming up’ the arena for the almost legendary Bonobo, but this certainly does not apply to Mount Kimbie.
The boys from South London could easily been the headliner for this impressive concert. Dominic and Kai left a devastating impression with their beautiful and intense melodies combined with brutal and energetic drums. Thousands of enthusiastic spectators were genuine fascinated by this 30 minute spectacle.
At the first official festival day, we arrived around 3PM on the festival site. Immediately we found our way to the attractive beach and the amazing music of one of our favorite artists originating from Japan; Yosi Horikawa. We already published a post about his amazing track ‘Moody Man’ a couple of weeks ago, and it was a pure delight to listen to this man in this enjoyable setting on the beach. Lovely, warm and cheerful melodies interspersed with odd, natural textures, which created an amazing atmosphere and a lovely welcome to the Dimensions festival.
Dense & Pika
Playing after Berlin heavyweight Mike Dehnert is quite a hard task for the majority of artists, but not for these boys from the UK. Alex Jones and Glipse simply bulldozed every possible hurdle away which prevented them from smashing down the area. Their set was bursting of energy, and they managed to maintain this continuous energetic outburst of pure techno during their set. The ingredients to wreck a place down are simple, but only a few master these ‘simple’ skills, Dense & Pika certainly do have the skills to conquer every dance floor.
Pantha Du Prince
It’s hard to describe this special performance to be honest. Intimate, subdued and magical would be the right words to describe the performance of Hendrik Weber. Once again, the environment and the musical content complemented each other extremely well. The clearing, a stage in the middle of the forest, really reinforced the magical atmosphere of this performance. ‘The clearing’ functioned as a rest place for us, and a stage where you could really enjoy the well programmed music peacefully.
We felt in love with John due to his lovely track called ‘palace’. So we were pleased to notice that the New York based producer was booked for this year’s Dimensions festival. John was playing around 1.00 AM on Sunday evening. The fact that Lawrence was playing in front of him was a small hurdle as it was quite a transition from the housy sounds to the more instrumental sound of John. Mister Roberts started with probably his best known track ‘Palace’ right away, which immediately set the mood, and created a magnificent start of his set. The majority of the crowd was struggling with John’s live set, which would be more suited on one of the beach parties, but we totally loved his sounds. Really cool to see him perform here in Croatia.
Space Dimension Controller
It’s hard to come up with a favorite set or performance, but if we would have to name one it would be Space Dimension Controller. SDC’s music is deep and has an impeccably-produced hi-tech jazz vibe and influences from Detroit and African music. Never have we felt so peacefully, whilst we were listening to this genius exposing his chimeras. It was so impressive that a unifying atmosphere aroused amongst the crowd, this feeling combined with the subdued music and the stars at the sky is definitely something to remember.
On Sunday evening, we spent three hours on a boat with the boys from Dekmantel and Ben Klock. After a lovely warm-up, Ben Klock was taking over, and boy, he delivered. Although you would associate a boat party with sunshine and happy, melodic tunes, this was definitely not the case during this evening. The boat left just after sunset and was surrounded by the pitch-black surroundings of the Croatian night. Ben was playing dirty and raw, sometimes with a funky twist, but mainly ‘nasty’, pounding tracks. The crowd went crazy, and we’ll guess that all attendees will cherish these three hours for the rest of their lives.
Steffi, was one of the artists, we marked on the timetable, and we definitely wanted to see. The start of Steffi’s set was ominous, almost lugubrious and did fit extremely well into the dark surroundings of The Moat stage. Steffi played for two hours, but it felt like 20 minutes. Her set was one coherent story, not a collection of selected tracks, with trips into sinister spheres, as just mentioned, and energetic peaks. The crowd was going nuts, and it was so cool to see the approximately 200 meter long stage going wild. Even when the rain was pouring down on the crowd the vibe was still amazing.
The Dimensions festival is probably one of the best festivals we attended the last couple of years. The combination between the beautiful Croatian surroundings, the outstanding weather and the impressive amount of amazing artists is unique and guarantees an absolute mint time for any electronic music enthusiast. We would recommend to anyone with hesitations about a possible visit to this festival in Istria, to buy a ticket next year, you won’t be disappointed!