[Above image credit: Kasia Zacharko]
Deciding between the plethora of summer festivals on offer is often an arduous task. However, the selectors festival stood out to the Mantissa crew due to its size, secluded feel and the guarantee of beautiful Croatian summer sunshine. On top of this, a festival run by Dekmantel also guarantees organisation and a range of both, established and under-valued quality music acts. While we knew what was guaranteed from Objekt and Call Super, equally great moments were provided by the likes of Marco Passarani Intergalactic Gary and Vladimir Ivkovic. This review provides an insight into some of the favourite moments of the Mantissa Crew who were in attendance, from what was a massive highlight of their summer’s.
Frank's Selectors Highlight: Call Super & Objekt Boat Party
A boat party with Call Super and Objekt, two DJs at the top of their game, at 12pm on the first day of the festival seemed like a no brainer. As the boat crept out of the bay to a soundtrack of warm dubby beats, it felt like a perfect introduction to Selectors, as the already impressive scenery was also taken up a notch. It didn’t take long for the pair to up the tempo, as they delved into jungle and breakbeat tracks, allowing them to showcase the power of the soundsystem on board.
A mistake that many festivals make is overcrowding on boat parties; however Selectors managed to get the capacity just right. Tracks like Rob Smith’s “Living in Unity” really got the crowd moving, but you never felt cramped or uncomfortable. From then on the duo traversed countless musical styles, keeping the crowd on their toes as the direction the music was going in was never clear. From the playful dancehall of “Watagwan Yo” by Madd Again!, to the unmistakable shrieking electro of Mutsumi’s “College Panty Smelling”, the selection was on point and prime boat party material. Come the end of the journey, although only 3 hours of the festival had passed and there were a further 5 days to go, we knew it would be a difficult experience to beat.
Rob Smith – Living in Unity (Wonderful World Mix)
Madd Again! – Watagwan Yo
Mutsumi – College Panty Smelling
James's Selectors Highlight: Beautiful Swimmers
A major part of what made the Selectors Festival so special was it’s beautiful setting. From the natural amphitheatre of the garden resort to the other worldly feel of the night club, Barbarellas Discotheque. The sound, warm lighting, quirky but fitting DJ booth, and dancing in the warm open air as the sun comes up produced an amazing experience each night at Barbarellas, which surely has to be one of the best clubs I have ever attended. This attention to detail is something I hadn’t yet come across while attending London clubs and festivals for several years, only Block 9 and the South-East corner of Glastonbury in U.K. could compare.
Choosing a favourite set from those played at Barbarellas, a setting that seemed to bring the best out of every act that played there was extremely difficult. However as always the Beautiful Swimmers brought their combination of great music and exuberance to produce my favourite set of the festival. Few DJs select music or share it in such a way that represents their character as much the Swimmers. You can not help but smile when you see their own enjoyment as Max and Ari vibe behind the decks.
As always, many of their best selections will go unidentified, however those that the crowd recognised such as Omar-S’s Wayne County Hill Cops went down just as well if not more so. Once again the Swimmers did what they do best, bringing smiles to the crowd’s faces as they dance to breakbeat bangers, only this time with the backdrop of the stunning Dalmatian Coast.
Tom's Selectors Highlight: Jon K
Dekmantel Selectors truly is placed in an idyllic setting, with the Tisno gardens and beach providing the perfect location to spend the majority of the festival. The small size of the festival, about 1500, and intimate nature of the whole thing meant you regularly saw DJ’s and artists alongside you in the crowd enjoying the same acts you were, thus adding to the surreal atmosphere of the festival.
Amongst those of us who went from the Mantissa team, everyone found it hard to pick favourites due to the outstanding calibre of sets that we experienced. A highlight of the festival for me was seeing Jon K at the Voodoo stage on the Thursday. Jon K is in my opinion a very underrated DJ and a true selector and he showed this on Thursday during the 2 hours he got to go through some of his (I assume) favourite tunes. Seamlessly moving between tracks, Jon K kept the energy high and skipped between genres with ease, a few of which have been identified below; such as Andrea’s Rainbow and John FM ft. Omar S – White People Churches Be Like.
John FM ft. Omar S – White people churches be like
Andrea – Rainbow
Overall a fantastic festival in which each DJ we witnessed demonstrated why they were selectors.
Kish's Selectors Highlight: Rabih Beaini
A lovely aspect of the festival was the proximity of the stages to one another, which was taken advantage of over the course the extended weekend. You felt like you could get a good feeling of what each stage had to offer and just follow your ear. This is exactly what happened on Friday evening, ultimately stumbling to Voodoo after grabbing some food to replenish the tank. Rabih Beaini had another hour until the end of his set and that hour was the most captivating I heard.
The dancefloor, or the dusty gravel pit to be more accurate, was sparsely populated. The dimly lit area, which was mostly enclosed by tree and bushes, felt very intimate and Beaini responded to this by starting with Techno oddities. The final quarter of his set is where I was truly amazed and where his introspective experimentalism shined. A collection of various styles were delicately layered – a sporadic modal melody from a bright and clear trumpet was interweaved into sombre ambient sounds with polyrhythmic percussion falling everywhere but the strong beats (if you could possibly pick up a notation of time).
It felt like Beaini delved into the idea abandoning of rigid time structures, which were prevalent at a dance music festival. This was refreshing to hear someone that wasn’t afraid to take risks and present music that is seldom heard on dancefloors nowadays. As Beaini’s set was coming to a close around midnight the stage started to slowly fill up (Ben UFO was scheduled to follow), I felt like I had just been let in on a secret that was shared to only a few at the festival.
Nic's Selectors Highlight: Optimo
Playing at night on the 3rd of a 5 day festival is a tricky task. The DJ must provide the crowd with something special to keep them engaged, having danced for 2 full days and nights. It is also essential that a set at this stage of the festival, when people might be thinking of having an “early” night and saving themselves for the remainder, must be energetic, fluid yet curveball-filled and most importantly, fun. Optimo ticked all these boxes.
The Scottish duo, are notorious for their “anything goes” attitude, and they showcased this to its fullest at Barbarellas. With quick transitions, a range of genres, and a song selection that included, both established dance anthems and some of the best tracks of recent years, the pair kept people on their toes throughout. The well layered mash-up of Zombie Nation – Kernkraft 400 (1999) with Bicep – Glue (2017), epitomised Optimo’s DJing philosophy; offering something unexpected and exciting to the crowds, without concerning themselves too much about pleasing them. A perfect example of this being them teasing in the infamous sample of Hackney Parrot before dropping it out again. Despite the reaction of the crowd the track never dropped.
This well-crafted set was definitely a festival highlight. It was perfectly followed by Young Marco – who stepped in at the last minute for I-F – with an initial hour of techno, before progressing into his signature mixture of Italo and house music. Ending with several classics including Abba – Gimme Gimme Gimme and A Guy Called Gerrard – Voodoo Ray, ensured that spirits were high at the end of yet another long, but musically enriching day by some of the scene’s finest Selectors.