Our White Isle correspondent talks Amnesia, Space and DC-10.
The change that takes place in the space of a matter of days in Ibiza could hardly be more profound, as the gargantuan and overwhelming closing parties subside into the deafening silence of empty beaches and a practically non-existent party scene. I'm convinced what happened in Ibiza last weekend has never been witnessed before, certainly not in terms of the volume of people nor in the amount of time the parties aggregated between them.
In order to paint the picture, I'll start with an event I didn't actually attend, namely Ushuaia's Closing Party, which ran from midday on Saturday 1st October through to the early hours of Sunday morning, and was a showcase of Cadenza talents headed up by the bigwig himself, Luciano. As the fireworks went off at the Playa D'en Bossa venue, Amnesia had already opened its doors for what has become arguably the showpiece techno party in Ibiza's calendar, headlined for the third consecutive year by Richie Hawtin and Marco Carola, with Loco Dice merely the 8 AM warmup.
In many ways, the party—which takes on new meaning as daylight breaks on the Terrace—represents the type of hyped event most veteran clubbers would rather avoid, but it's actually hard to put into words the carnage that ensues as this beast gets going. Dice, for all his monotonous bass, ripped out the likes of "Flylife" by Basement Jaxx and both Carola and Hawtin continued along an often more melodic tip, while the permanent hands in the air and ear-shattering sound level physically penetrated in the inner sanctums of your brain. There was clearly something special happening here. Leaving at 6 PM on a Sunday afternoon, you had the feeling there could be no more debauched nor hedonistic place in the world to have been for the last 12 hours.
That accolade surely then shifted back to Playa D'en Bossa for Space's Closing Fiesta. You know, the one when they erect an enormous festival-like arena in the car park and swell the overall attendance well over 15,000? Reflecting the diversity on show at the club this year, the likes of Armin Van Buuren and Fedde Le Grand took over the Parking Arena, while Yousef, Uner and Radio Slave pumped up the Sunset Terrace. But it was the Terraza (hosted by Kehakuma) where attention centred on Jamie Jones, Nick Curly and Maya Jane Coles amongst others that stole the show. Steve Lawler, a new face for the Thursday party this year but certainly not at Space, delivered a supreme session of rolling, percussive beats, further evidence—as if it was needed—that he's always up to the big game challenge.
By this time a disco nap was on the cards, inspired by the prospect of five hours of Carl Cox in a unique Terraza set until midday on Monday. Arriving relatively fresh-faced to a Zombie-like Playa D'en Bossa—which by now also had a Cadenza after-party taking place on the beach outside Ushuaia—Cox's set was a master class of funky techno littered with favourites like "French Kiss" and "The Age of Love." The smiles and high fives and familiar faces everywhere told the story. While the breadth of music made you wish it could be like this every time, ultimately it's the fact that it's not that made it so wonderful.
Before Cox had quite finished at midday, I'd arrived at DC-10 to see their new set-up in the Garden, which soon had Soul Clap grooving out disco beats in the early afternoon sunshine. In what was a 40-strong DJ roster—in my opinion the strongest gathering of talent I've ever seen for a gig in Ibiza—the energy and pace was relentless and soon well-established pairings like Dyed Soundorom and Dan Ghenacia had slipped into their stride. Having seen lots of Ghenacia this year, I feel confident saying what a truly remarkable DJ he is, finding new depths and tangents from which to position his set, whether alone or with others. Ben Klock's Circoloco debut was one of the best received sets of the night, and by the time Ricardo Villalobos and Zip paired up on the Terrace after midnight, things had become quite busy.
As ever, though, it was the end of the night that held the real treasures. Firstly, Matthias Tanzmann and Davide Squillace ripped up the Terrace with what has become a trademark party house style, peppered with tough, punchy beats, horns and layered drums and then Lee Curtiss and Ryan Crosson tore up the rule book by dropping '90s house tracks (Paul Johnson's "Get Down," Armand Van Helden's "U Don't Know Me" and Bucketheads' "The Bomb!"). On paper, those may look fairly commercial, but the context of the surrounding tracks and the atmosphere clearly called for it.
So: That's it for another year in Ibiza. We'll wrap up the day-by-day agenda next week, and then follow up after that with a special end-of-season RA Exchange with some of the leading promoters on the island. The biggest compliment I can pay—and the best way to describe this year's closing parties—is that no matter what time you arrived or what time you had to leave, the party always ended way too soon.
Photo credits: Space Ibiza