Ahead of the main Dekmantel Festival at the end of July comes Lente Kabinet: a one-dayer set in Twiske Park outside the city. Although twelve hours of music across four stages might not touch the sides for a lot of European clubbers, with a powerful and concise roster of international DJs and homegrown talent, the event is firmly carving out its own space in the festival calendar.
When it comes to electronic music heritage, Amsterdam has always stayed in the race. But more recently the Dutch capital has been making its presence felt. The closing of the illustrious Trouw venue this January might have served as a heavy blow to the city’s scene, yet an increasing profile after a series of seamlessly curated events sees the team behind Dekmantel pretty capably flying the flag in its wake.
As with all of Dekmantel’s events, Lente Kabinet has a strong emphasis on sound. Even the modest Red Light Radio stage, host to Pender Street Steppers and Levon Vincent, came with a stack of Funktion Ones pushing out rib-rattling bass. Midland’s set over on the main stage not only conjured the sunshine but also saw the area flood with well groomed, mainly local attendees. His seamless and sprawling two hour set touched on everything from Ajukaja’s edit of Samba Mapangala, William Onyeabor’s Good Name and Floating Points’ slowly simmering Nuits Sonores. The vibes Lena Willikens peddled over on the DJ Broadcast stage were a much darker, psychedelic affair that carried her signature charm.
Despite impressive sound quality throughout the four stages, we found it hard to leave the main stage. Casper Tielrooij and Thomas Martojo had us bopping around spilling our mandatory friets and mayo to the sound of Iz & Diz’s Mouth and later Moodymann’s fearless mischief had us in many states of confusion. The Detroit legend’s trademark commentary and free vodka shots were missed – perhaps not his style in daylight hours – but the eccentric song selection was unmistakable. ODB’s Got Your Money was a welcome change from the evenings prevalent 4/4 framework, Nirvana’s Come As You Are met with slightly less enthusiasm.
The highlight of the second stage was Ben UFO and Joy Orbison’s back-to-back set. The two have been sharing the same cross-fader for years now and their fluidity and poise as a duo is palpable. The jewel in the crown could have been a lively engaging set from Nicolas Jaar but unfortunately he did little to capture our attention. Perhaps earlier on his heady and measured approach may have felt more visceral, yet as the culmination of an evening that was slipping away from us all too soon it seemed a bit unceremonious. Still, Dekmantel’s little sibling’s relaxed, friendly atmosphere made for an idyllic one dayer, the perfect warm up for the main event.