Dekmantel Highlights: Cinnaman x Tom Trago

Looking at the wealth of choices on the program, I didn’t really anticipate that I would spend much time watching Cinamman and Tom Trago’s back to back session. The two Dutchmen didn’t quite have the headliner quality of Talaboman on the main stage, or Boddika in the XLR8R tent. Nor did they possess the auteur status of Gerd Janson x Prins Thomas at the Selectors stage. Also, they didn’t offer the eclectic oddball qualities that San Proper would undoubtedly bring to the Boiler Room in his back to back session with Antal.

Still I decided to dip in as I wandered past, and I was instantly hooked by one of the summer’s ever present sounds: Genius of Time’s Juno Jam. The Running Back release has undeniably been one of the biggest tunes of 2014’s sunny season, but its strength is just how far it is from a paint-by-numbers ‘banger’. There is not a diva vocal or major key piano in sight, but the tune is built around a playfully off key synth line that ear worms its way into a listener’s brain. It’s this mischievously presented element, more than the excellent tribal percussion or Innervisions-esque driving bass note that is added later on, that has made this song ever prevalent in so many sets across the board.

Anyway, my ode to Juno Jam may seem like a digression, but the song was symbolic of their whole set. On what seemed to be a three tune for three tune rotation, they never wasted their time with boring set builders, but nor did they ever resort to cheap thrills. Instead, most of the music they selected fit the Juno Jam blueprint: unique records that were full of personality, but ones that still retained the dancefloor elements necessary for a festival set. Their laid-back DJing style was more reminiscent of a house party than a late afternoon festival slot.

But that brings me round to the main thing the two had going for them, ahead of the riches offered across the other stages: they were on home soil. The reason their set may have resembled a house party slot, is because it really wasn’t so far detached from one. The DJ booth was packed with extended Dekmantel friends and family, and the feel good energy transmitted itself into the DJ’s selections, and therefore the dancefloor. Their crates were built upon high quality house and techno, yet they weren’t afraid to take a few well received left turns into garage or disco. My personal highlight came just before the end of the evening, when they unleashed Leon Vynehall’s 3024 weapon, Step or Stone (Breath or Bone), to a rapturous response.

Cinamman and Trago’s sublime performance was a reminder that you can’t judge a vibe on paper, and that when partying abroad, it’s never a bad idea to see what the local talent have to say for themselves.

John Hardy

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