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Review: Music On, 16th August

Carola's humble goliath continues to extend its grasp.

This season, despite the commendable efforts enacted by the island's industry glitterati, one party above all has danced firmly and constantly on Ibiza's smirking lips. Marco Carola's Music On, returning after last year's successful season debut, has succeeded in wholly realising and deftly combining the premier elements required of a contemporary 'underground' party: balanced conceptuality, originality, open arms and a reserved respect for the island. Music On, as the name implies is built around an unshakable musical core and it is this focus that represents the literal concept of the party - as opposed to a partial piece of it. Where other conceptual parties may use the music to support an over-arching ideal Carola flirts with the opposite - using the additional physical aesthetics at his disposal to influence the sound itself.

A credit to his strength of vision many view Music On and Carola as the same inseparable entity, the largely European crowd constantly itch to see and thank the man personally - as such, Carola presenting a nightlong Terrace performance had Amnesia bursting from the very beginning. Whilst Ibiza at large continues to tentatively explore the creative merits of the 'extended set' Neapolitan Carola has - from the off - made clear his unflinching penchant for winding, marathon exposures.

As residents Leon and Nathan Barato steered the Main Room through what was a fumbling back to back episode, the Terrace air hummed with dramatic expectation. The first few hours saw Carola push his usual fare - adding layer upon layer of compressed claps and dry hi-hats to a steady rhythm. Although intricate, the non-introduction of new and different sounds fast became a noticeable bug - the constant presence of similar percussive lines evoking the feeling of constant groundhog reversion. As middle ground approached though Carola orchestrated a change, slowing to create deeper, inkier pools. The primal harshness of a scuttling rain-shaker preluded the first of many well-sculpted stripped bridges before the re-arrival of immediate, rib-cracking techy mortars. Continuing to dip away from his status-quo structure as 6am approached refreshing variety began to rear its head: an increasing use of drawn out vocal snippets and chugging bass over-flowing with low-frequency dynamism gathered around a rare humorous moment: Cabin Fever - Snapped complete with sample, "I've got the power". The introduction of minimal-leaning sparks and husky, pitched growls led the crowd on a continuing journey into the unknown as strips of groove arrived in clicks and bounds.

The humble 'plainness' of Music On's aesthetic makes even Amnesia seem glitzy. The party is almost reminiscent of simpler times when there was less expectation, less drama and no politics - a nod then to Carola's desire to engage both the past and future in one simultaneous embrace. Although the change in prescribed audio from one week to the next may be nearly indiscernible - with a strong focus on residents - Music On has succeeded in representing what the island has been wanting for: not a concept, or a performance - but a party.

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