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Dekmantel 2014: 10 Reasons the Amsterdam Festival Was One of the Year's Best

Last August, XLR8R hopped on a plane to Amsterdam to check out the inaugural Dekmantel Festival. At the time, our expectations were high, but we weren't quite sure what to expect; the line-up was certainly good, and the Dekmantel crew had a solid reputation, but launching a new festival, let alone doing it right, can be a rather difficult undertaking. Nevertheless, the first Dekmantel Festival was an unabashed success, which we detailed in our official review. Intimate in feel, well run, and marked by impeccable curation, the event felt truly special; more importantly, it set an incredibly high standard for the future. As such, we arrived in Amsterdam last week with high hopes, but also with a nagging worry that Dekmantel's 2014 might not live up to the promise of its predecessor. However, now that we've spent another three days at the wooded Amsterdamse Bos site just outside the city, it can be said with confidence that our trepidation was absolutely for naught. As it turned out, this year's Dekmantel was just as good, if not better than, the first. Read more » 

XLR8R's Top 20 Downloads of July

The month of July brought an eclectic mix of new tracks to XLR8R's Downloads section, with familiar names like Radio Slave (pictured above), Ulrich Schnauss, Gerd Janson, Lockah, and Kid Smpl all contributing quality efforts. A number of artists new to our pages also made an impact over the past month, delivering an impressive set of remixes and original tracks, some of which ultimately made for the most popular MP3s on the site. With the calendar turning the page to a new month, we've compiled the data and crunched the numbers, and can now present the full list of XLR8R's Top 20 Downloads of July. Read more » 

Dekmantel: How Some Fanboys from The Hague Found Themselves at the Helm of One of Electronic Music's Best Festivals

The second annual Dekmantel Festival is taking place this weekend in Amsterdam, which prompted us to take a closer look at the impressive crew making it happen.

In the wake of last year's inaugural festival, the name Dekmantel has quickly shot to prominence. And while this ascent may have seemed swift for the casual observer, the story of how the small team behind it—which also maintains party promoter and record label arms under the same name—got to this point is one of slow and steady development, lifelong friendships, and an unshakable passion for music. As Thomas Martojo—who runs the company alongside his childhood friend and co-founder Casper Tielrooij and newer addition Matthijs Theben Terville—explains, the group first began to take shape when its members were quite young. Read more » 

Trainwreck: DJ Slugo Recounts the Time He Found Himself in the Middle of a Hotel Room Brawl

DJ Slugo was one of the key players in Dance Mania's mid-1990s heyday. He's possibly best known for "Wouldn't You Like to Be a Hoe Too," but Slugo also authored countless other hits, including "Smoke-N-Ride," "A Blunt," and "Freaky Ride," all of which exemplify how well his inimitable, quintessentially ghetto house touch still stands up today. Considering the heavy interest in that period as of late, it makes sense that Slugo would turn up again to school the younger generation as he has on 'King Of Ghetto House,' his latest EP (although its appearance on Nicolas Jaar's Other People label is certainly a surprise). Beyond its compositions, much of ghetto house's appeal stems from its raw, slice-of-life sensibility, and it would follow that a forefather like Slugo has had his share of moments—positive and negative—to draw from. As such, he seemed like an obvious candidate for our 'Trainwreck' series, and once we got him talking, he shared this fairly ridiculous story of cowardice and bravery. Read more » 

20 Questions: FaltyDL Talks NYC Dance Crews, Tripping in Nature, and Motorcycle Gunslinging

Brooklyn-based producer FaltyDL (a.k.a. Drew Lustman) is an artist who happily eludes categorization. Over the years, he's issued a series of shapeshifting and hypnotic dance records, including last year's unabashedly warm (and XLR8R-picked) Hardcourage LP, and he's also started up an imprint of his own, Blueberry Records, which takes a similarly varied approach. Next month, he'll be returning to London's storied Ninja Tune label with In the Wild, his fourth full-length and quite possibly his least dance-oriented work yet. Brashly cinematic and constructed like an organic puzzle, the album weaves together 17 gorgeous vignettes, harnessing sound collage, airy ambience, and a few unsettled rhythms while setting a distinctly feral mood. In advance of its release on August 12, we made contact with Lustman while he was on tour in Japan and got him talking about poetry, Pornhub, formative acid trips, and shooting guns from a motorcycle. Read more » 

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