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Review: Cocoon, 19th August

...for what is a morning of Richie Hawtin playing Cocoon Terrace without a spot of crowd surfing?

DJs playing swapsies might be commonplace in Ibiza this season but there's no point being blasé about an Enter/Cocoon trade off. It's guaranteed good music and good times; the DJ always puts on a special show for the occasion and we clubbers seem to completely lose our shit at the opportunity of seeing our favourite DJ in a different box to his usual box. We're simple creatures in the end.

To prove that the pulling power of the swap was still strong, it was one of the busiest Cocoons of the season. We arrived midway through Sven Vath's five hour Terrace session to find the room packed and electric. Green lights were flashing indiscriminately across the tightly pressed bodies and the air was hot and heavy with bass. Sven was giving his followers a vigorous shellacking, gunning out at a high pace with plenty of forward push. In typical fashion he soon wandered into high and melodic registers, with tinkling synths as clear as cut glass traversing up and down the octaves, with a low bass and relentless hi hats to maintain the techno momentum; Gregor Tresher's Nightcolors was one such track. It was a brief blessing to our poor petrified ear drums, which are currently struggling through a summer of abrasive booms, bangs and ticks with reasonably good grace.

I felt a real dance floor moment right near the close of Väth's set, when he dropped Dominik Eulberg's Opel Tantra. It's such a vibrant, happy track that I noticed everyone around me just burst into Cheshire grins as we caught each other's eyes and danced that little bit harder. A couple of tracks later and Väth was fanning himself with his final vinyl and greeting his successor in the booth, Richie Hawtin. I know Marco Carola and Music On are uber popular right now, but for me it will always be Cocoon and Sven Väth. The man flips his records in the air like pancakes for goodness sake, what more could you want?

Hawtin took things down a notch from there – an understandable move with four hours ahead of you – but we were all geed up from Sven's epic finale and so charged across to the Main Room for some stomping. Adam Beyer was in the booth, standing on a few milk crates as usual (no one could actually be that tall) and pushing out techno at a slightly slower pace than Hawtin, though chunkier and more aggressive. It was a brilliant set from the Swedish techno beanstalk which kept us away from the terrace far longer than we had planned. Appreciation was unwavering from the crowd, especially from some over-eager ravers whose blatant failure at instigating a collective sit down did nothing to quell their repeated and desperate efforts. The rest of us continued to show our appreciation from an upright position.

Eventually feeling the pull of dawn, we returned to the clear-ceilinged Terrace for an excellent few hours of Hawtin. He was really on a roll at this point, smoothly transitioning between tune after diverse tune, some highlights being Stereo Express's Shadoorack, the old school X-Press 2 classic Muzik Xpress and the infinitely popular tones of Claude Von Stroke's Whose Afraid of Detroit. He even brought down the beat to half time to throw in a slow and dubby curveball, which raised a few eyebrows but sounded swell to me. Just after 8am he smashed us with the Joop Junior banger Triangle, a monstrously abrasive track (in a good way, obviously) which made me wonder what everyone else was up to at 8 in the morning, and was there something particularly wrong with me for enjoying industrial serrated synthesizers for breakfast.

At one point I looked across the room to see a bold clubber crowd surfing – or sailing – his way from the back of the room to the booth. He travelled front first, with his chest raised like the prow of a ship and a pointed finger extended towards Hawtin, gliding atop a sea of hands in the straightest smoothest line I have ever seen. At the last minute Hawtin looked up and spotted him, instantly pulling him over into the booth then promptly diving headfirst into the crowd himself. Cheering - lots of it.

This was a standout moment of a night full of such antics, with the crowded DJ booth itself as much of a circus as the floor. Perhaps the distraction proved too much, because I felt Hawtin lost his flow towards the end. Track choices were still excellent, but somehow they didn't gel together the way they had an hour previously, and his set lost some momentum. What should have been an epic end to an incredible set was marred by the main speakers turning off for the final few tracks, and some further technical problems resulting in the apologetic hands in the air “I didn't do it” pose from Hawtin. So the end fizzled a bit, but I've come away from the night with a swathe of very happy musical memories. Now if everyone has caught their breath, we'll head off to complete the event and see Sven Väth play the Space Discoeteca for Hawtin's Enter.

Photography by James Chapman

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