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Review: Heart Ibiza opens with Sven Väth

Welcome back, Papa Sven

Before heading to Heart Ibiza last night, I calculated (in a completely non-creepy way) that it had been 122 days since I'd last been taken on a Sven Väth voyage of magical mystery - that's if you don't include a day lost and never really found at the Cocoon after party at the end of last season. So needless to say, a date with the German wizard was long overdue. Thus it was, eventually literal, music to my ears when I found out he'd been heading up at the opening party at the classiest venue in Marina Botafoch, and my hand shot into the air with unprecedented enthusiasm given the onslaught of openings taking place at the moment - “I'll take that one,” I said.

But, first things first, there was a magnificient mish-mash of sonic nuance to contend with. Arriving at Heart at 1 AM felt like we'd been transported back to the 1920s; ambushed as we were by the funkiest sounding jazz band we ever did hear. On recognising an uptempo version of George Michael's ‘Careless Whisper' (really), I was overcome by the speakeasy vibes and urge to do the doop, and half expecting a gun-toting Bugsy Malone to appear from a side-door, but happily it was all swirls and smiles here.

That set the tone for the next act of the night - a curveball in the form of the Wolfgang Haffner Trio - three of Europe's most respected jazz musicians. It's not often you'll see this kind of musical offering on the line-up for an opening party in Ibiza, but that doesn't mean you can't get into the groove of appreciating unmitigated talent. And I'm no jazz connoisseur, but my hips and shoulders responded involuntarily to the spasmodic staccato coming from the combination of drums, piano and bass. A blissful moment came with the recital of the Gershwin classic, ‘Summertime', and on the whole it was the kind of mesmerising performance that made you gape in wonder. We were semi-tempted to lie down on the floor and attempt a Spotlight team spoon to complement all the lullaby-esque melodies, but aware of the impending stampede for Sven, thought better of it.

To say the dance floor became busy when Väth took to the stage would be an understatement, but by sheer persistence I forced myself to the front and went relatively unbothered for the duration - it's all about positioning, people. And it's in this little corner that I surrendered to the sounds of Papa Sven for almost two hours. He kicked things off with funky little foot-stomper from Tensnake (‘Holding Back', Tiger & Woods remix), taking a fairly softly-softly approach for about an hour - it was all disco riffs and mystical melodies as mysterious as the star constellations beamed onto the wall behind the DJ booth. In the second hour, he upped the ante, swerving from hypnotic vocals (‘Secrets and Lies', Fort Romeau) to chunky, fat basslines (‘VibrationZ', wAFF) to minimal beats (‘The Concept', Waveshape) - no one can manoeuvre a mood switch up quite like Väth. I stuck firmly to my spot all the while, eyes closed and only the occasional elbow necessary. Then it was time to clip clop home in my clogs while pondering the summer as it lays out before us. One Sven Väth immersion down, countless more to go.

WORDS | Abby Lowe PHOTOGRAPHY | James Chapman

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