The Full Guide for the Opening Days
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The Full Guide for the Opening Days

July 10

Our Wednesday and Thursday programming this year is split across five Amsterdam spaces – Muziekgebouw aan’t IJ, Tolhuistuin, Bimhuis, EYE Filmmuseum and Shelter. Each venue across the city plays host to a line up of some of music’s most exhilarating and fearless live performers. The programming provides a very different perspective on some of electronic music’s leading voices to the festival’s weekend schedule – highlighting some of the world’s best live performers in electronic music right now.

Words by Aurora Mitchell. We advise to click on 'read-mode' when opening on your mobile device.


Japan’s Yasuaki Shimizu is one of the prolific artists who’s playing on Thursday. His work has recently seen a renewed interest – especially with the reissue of 1982’s Kakashi – a simmering ambient and jazz record with a striking cat painting as its cover. “What you have, playing live, is a special moment in time involving lots of people in a single space, engaging with the sounds I play,” Shimizu says. “Those sounds penetrate the private spaces of each of those individuals, where they are transformed. Imagining this as I perform is for me personally, the ultimate pleasure, so I hope the audience will get just as much of a kick out of bending and twisting the sounds.”


Also playing at Muziekgebouw on the Thursday in the foyer is Netherlands based artist Dazion. For him, playing live is as exciting as it gets. "I know that, what i have in front of me, is all I can rely on. A small tweak of the buttons can have a pretty huge impact on the entire composition,” he says. “in the end I get most of my confidence in playing, from the audience in front of me. To see them react the way they do can send me home still feeling pumped up."

Elsewhere across the programme, Hieroglyphic Being will be playing with Sarathy Korwar and Shabaka Hutchings as their A.R.E. Project. "They know what I'm trying to do, even when I don't know what I'm trying to do," Hieroglyphic Being has said of his two collaborators on the project. Korwar’s cascading drum trills will combine with Hutchings’ woodwind and brass improvisation and Hieroglyphic Being’s live sequenced rhythms to create a healing energy for the audience.


Shelter, one of Amsterdam’s best clubs, is north of the river and plays host to some of the programme’s most mesmerisingly intense live performers – who explore noise, drone and experimental music. Yves Tumor’s phenomenal presence as an artist channeled through pummeling noise, blinding strobes and piercing, distorted vocals will be amplified through the club’s Funktion One system. Where his album for PAN explored a quieter and more meditative side of experimental music, his live show jumps straight in with cutting noise and shattering bass. He’s joined at Shelter by fellow purveyor of noise and drone Tim Hecker, who are bound to shake audience’s rib cages with the weight of the low end emanating from their live set up.


Netherlands based duo Volition Immanent will also be playing live at the club. For them, playing live is "a rollercoaster of conflict, it's the canalizing of suffering and the enlightenment of this, tears and fun, perfection and the abolishment of this concept and above all losing our minds. We expose feelings and energies towards the audience on a physical and spiritual way. To become one." While the other spaces are traditionally used as concert halls, Shelter will be deviating from its usual programme of incredible DJs to host this special programme of acts solely playing live. 


While Dekmantel regulars will be used to seeing Four Tet DJ outside on the main stage, this year he will be playing his renowned live show at Muziekgebouw aan’t IJ on Wednesday. The concert hall is an important part of the festival and one of Amsterdam’s architectural highlights. The expansive indoor concert hall will be the perfect setting for the spectacular and enchanting light installation that has captivated audiences during his previous live shows. It’s a refreshing way to experience one of our regular artists.


Alongside artists who have already played at the festival, 2018 marks a number of debuts. Pan Daijing's brilliant and imaginative vision will be performed for the first time for the festival at the Bimhuis. The 300 capacity concert hall will make the perfect setting for Daijing's intimate and personal live show. Her personal connection and attachment to the machines she works with is captivating and she channels the energy of the sound she makes through her body. Her limbs twist and turn and gracefully form positions in connection to the sound, often performing under the guise of a tight black mask over her face. It’s sure to make for a very special performance.

She’ll be joined at Bimhuis by new age pioneer Laraaji. His artistry has been subject to several reissues in the past few years and he continues to put out new original work at a steady pace. When it comes to his live performances, he invites his audience to feel a “connection to the entire cosmos, their own heart opening deeper and wider, heart space expansion, being tuned to a fuller sense of personal presence, deep relaxation, unstressed, loved, grounded in the here and now.”

Next to the music program, a vast amount of extracurricular activities is planned in the EYE Filmuseum that is completely free of charge. The Dekmantel Conference, in collaboration with Resident Advisor, will see talks with Clark, Legowelt, John Talabot, Elena Colombi, Sassy J, Hieroglyphic Being, and VARG. Next to that, an extensive film programm concludes the day at EYE with a documentary about festival headliners Tangerine Dream, a film made by Lena Willikens and Sarah Sczceny and new scored shortvid’s by Suzanne Kraft, upsammy, Parrish Smith, and Jordan GZC. Red Light Radio and The Rest Is Noise will braodcast live from Muziekgebouw inviting artists from the festival for interviews and DJ-sets.

The full line up for the Wednesday and Thursday programme is Four Tet, Tangerine Dream, James Holden & The Spirit Animals, Yasuaki Shimizu, A.R.E. Project, Carista, Space Dimension Controller (live), Alessandro Cortini, Laraaji, Pan Daijing, Terry & Gyan Riley, Tim Hecker, Unit Moebus (live), Volition Imminent (live), Yves Tumor, Dazion (live), Khidja (live), Phantom Kino Ballet (film screening), RE:VIVE with Suzanne Kraft, Parrish Smith, Jordan GCZ & upsammy, W.I.T.C.H. (ft. Jacco Gardner), NONOTAK, Aïsha Devi, Dollkraut Band, KOKOKO! And Acid Arab (live).