There was a strong sense of occasion in Playa d'en Bossa on Tuesday. After the success of their back-to-back session last year, Luciano had once again invited Richie Hawtin to play at his weekly Ushuaia residency. It proved, however, only the precursor to the night's biggest event, which took place just over the road at Space. Given the island's long and winding history, moments of true originality in Ibiza are few and far between these days. This made Marco Carola's debut at Space nothing short of momentous.
There's been a spate of heavyweight DJ swaps across the scene this summer (Carl Cox, for instance, will play Music On at the end of August), but Carola's set for The Party Unites was one of only two planned appearances outside his usual home, Amnesia. Warming up in the Discoteca, Cassy spun tough, housey beats to a packed floor. As she drew to a close, what little space remained was soon filled by the swelling Anglo-Italian crowd. Over the course of some two hours, Carola showed why some consider him the most in-form DJ on the circuit, segueing from one emphatic bassline to the next with ease. Despite mostly sticking to his brand of stripped-back tech house, he teased in the odd vocal (noticeably the hook from Noir & Haze's "Around"), suggesting that even the po-faced Neapolitan was getting caught up in the moment.
As Carl Cox assumed his position in the booth, there was just enough time to check out the Terrazza. Faced with the difficult task of competing against the Discoteca, Nicole Moudaber took to pummelling the floor with militant, driving techno. Taking over from her was Just Be, who instantly reset the focus on the groove, leading with a potent selection of bassline-heavy tracks. When I caught the end of Cox's set, the exuberant showman was playing as thick and fast as Carola, albeit with a harder, techno edge. As expected, the pair rounded off proceedings with their first ever back-to-back. Here, Cox's experience shone through, treating the Space faithful to more upfront records, while his guest stuck by his thumping fare. When the lights went up at 8 AM, a tide of groans could be heard among the catcalls.