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Review: IMS Ibiza 2013 Day 3

The third and final day of the 2013 IMS in review - with Pappa Sven proving to be the father figure we always wanted.

Day 3 of the IMS - and honestly the whole experience - feels like it's taken forever to get through, and yet has passed me by at an incredible pace. Between three days of conference, two Dalt Vila parties, followed by Sankeys opening, the mere fact I managed to get my arse out of bed and to the Ibiza Gran Hotel for (roughly) 11am is a miracle.

There was, of course, a very good reason for making the effort to get down for the first panel of the conference that day - Jean Michel Jarre being interviewed by IMS partner Ben Turner. For those who don't know, the guy was a pioneer of electronic music, picking up old gear to make new sounds; “We were stealing equipment, because it was not too popular at the time and very expensive.” For Michel though, it wasn't purely about the music; “Architecture and music for me must go together.” Search his name on YouTube and a plethora of videos come up of his live shows, and you'll see what he means. Any way you look at it, artist like Deadmau5 and Plastikman have no doubt taken his shows as a reference point to combine the production with the performance of the music. Interestingly, when asked by a member of the audience which genre of music he would be making if he started out now, Michel answered with a straight forward “trance,” although I'm not sure we can expect to see him playing the next Cream or ASOT party.

The next panel of importance for me was ‘question time' - an opportunity for the panelists and crowd alike to work through some issues within the scene. Topics like underground vs VIPs, the amusing social media wars, the overcrowding of clubs and, wait for it... Daft Punk. Danny Whittle seemed a little pissed about the whole topic of VIPs; “who f**king cares if someone wants to sit at a table and enjoy a bottle of vodka. It's more snobby of you to look down on them than the other way round.” Which is fair enough, but speaking from the opinion of someone who can't afford a table, or a single vodka in a club, I still think they should either party elsewhere or invite me up, for gods sake. Inevitably the Sneak online ghetto rampage was brought up during the discussion on social media wars, because lets face it, the house gangster usually starts them. Sasha made the point that it has been great publicity for him, and there are ways to combat people who annoy you online; “the great thing about Twitter is the ‘block' button.”

The overcrowding of clubs is certainly a topic of contention for most clubbers today. Personally, I love to have a bit of space in the club to throw myself around - both intentionally and unintentionally. Danny Whittle, as a former fireman, understands the importance of striking a balance between filling the club for the benefit of the atmosphere, but also not taking it too far and massively over-selling the party. Clubs in Ibiza can sometimes be far too busy, and as it's something a lot of people feel strongly about, hopefully they take note.

On Daft Punk, I'll keep things quick and simple. The general opinion was that the album is great, and that a typical default feedback is one of hate, based solely on it not being as good as their previous albums - ‘Homework' for example. “A previously known quantity has suddenly become unexpected, and people can't handle that shit', said moderator Gary Smith of Midem. In my opinion their use of live instruments is a rarity these days, which should be appreciated.

The market focus on Germany was a really interesting panel. Of course Sven Vath featured heavily as a key figure within the German scene, which is widely recognised as one of the best in the world. Many of the labels to come out of the country like Cocoon and Mobliee all look after their own business entirely. From promotion, pressing, producing, events, distribution and so on, and this is to their benefit in terms of the control they have over their image and output. Monika Kruse implied, however, that the scene is sleeping at the moment. Lord only knows what will happen when the place wakes up then.

The focus of another panel was the American music scene and its current obsession with EDM. Where does the American scene go once the ‘boom boom' of the massive cash injection has gone? There are many players in the country who are pouring millions into events and companies, creating a battle ground between the mainstream and the underground. Arash Shirazi of The Bullitt Agency says “there's no middle ground. There's those that earn a lot and those who barely earn anything. This affects innovation.” Maria May made a good point about this huge expansion of EDM, that whilst the “short term effects may be negative, in the long term it can only be positive”, with money being poured into the scene and eventually trickling down the ladder to all levels of artists. I'm sure in 5 years time we'll be sitting through a market focus on America, talking about the great scene they have there. Patience kids, patience.

As the very last keynote interview of the day, Sven Vath stepped onto the stage and plonked his hippie looking self on the white leather seats looking remarkably fresh for a man who's famous for his crazy antics. Sven recounted the story of how he came to be in Ibiza, hitch-hiking his way through Europe and making his way to the island over a couple of months, only to set up camp (literally) in a forest on the island for 3 months. Seems a fair way from today's Ibiza Virgins cruising through the West End, bum bag and snap-back cap included.

He sees Cocoon as an “investment,” a means for him to “give a proper techno party to the island” after seeing the English promoters come over and turn the island into more of a business, with sounds he didn't particularly like. Throughout the whole talk it became clear that Sven's ideals align themselves pretty well with your typical island-aware clubber. He doesn't appreciate the VIP culture we're in, he thinks the party and the music is for the people and he isn't in the business for the money. “I love this hippie vibe and free spirit of Ibiza” he said, and hopefully if more people like him are involved, we can keep hold of it.

Looking to the future, Sven plans to keep the Cocoon Ibiza going, with the focus on the music at both Amnesia and of course the famous carry-ons, keeping it simple with two decks and one mixer. Thoughts of making an ambient album with Roman Flugel were interesting, so we'll wait to see how that one goes. Summing up though, he said “spontaneity is my biggest art form” - so we can all look forward to some nonsense over the coming season.

The grand finale party up at Dalt Vila was the celebration for a few days of good work, patiently sitting through panels and using your head to actually think about things for like three whole days - something I haven't done since that really complex Lego technics set I got for Christmas in 1996. If you've read the review from Day 2 of the IMS, you'll appreciate how cool the venue is. The views are ridiculous. Look one way and you'll find some older gentleman with his wife absolutely having it, look the other and you have a view over the entire Ibiza Town marina, right up to Amnesia. To best appreciate the view though, take a quick wander up to the top of the old town by the church, and as the sun sets you have one of those ‘Ibiza moments.'

The lineup from the Grand Finale was clearly more underground than the previous nights. Scuba, Tensnake, Maya Jane Coles, Solomun and Sven Vath completed what you might consider to be a lineup worthy of the tag - ‘epic.' Everything built up over the course of the night, being taken down in tempo only for the time Solomun was on the decks. His 80s fueled selection of grooves ensured the typical dance was change from the techno-two-stomp to slightly camp and smily bouncing around style. Sven was the absolute master though, forcing me to put the camera away, fight my way to the front, and bounce around like a mad man. ‘Pig & Dan's ‘Savage' and ‘Jellied Eels' by Marco Effe were stand out tracks from the set, but really only a small insight into what was the best end to an IMS I've experienced yet.

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