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Review: Why Maceo Plex must return with Mosaic in 2017

We rolled in for his extra Pacha date and left convinced

Man, this season is straight up sneering in the face of the final countdown. You think you've given all you've got and then BOOM, another DJ creeps in, gives you a suggestive side glance and before you know it, you're back cooking scrambled eggs before hitting the town for yet another final blowout. Maceo Plex is one of those DJs, as after the Mosaic closing at Pacha last week, he thought he'd slide in one extra date for the good folk of Ibiza. Now don't get me wrong, I'd hunted for a filthy beat at Mosaic on numerous occasions and it gets a hefty thumbs up, however, after battering through the Circoloco closing the night prior, I was struggling, and so the thought of doing anything other than staying in bed filled me with terror.

Needless to say, it was a classic moment for reminding myself that my job is based on going out and romancing my ears with blistering tunage – so the violin was put back in the sympathy closet. Armpit shower and a scoot across the island and I was back at Pacha to see out Mosaic with what I was hoping would be a meaty big bang. It's easy to have that kind of expectancy in the case of this Barcelona-based export on account of the impact he's had here in his first year of curating his own residency. Some questioned his choice of venue and didn't think he'd be compatible with Pacha based on its VIP culture. To the doubters he said, “hey, I got this,” and when you saw how packed out the pre-opening and preceding opening were, he was on course to smash it.

Last night evidenced the fact that many dance music warriors had departed and some of the others were very likely broken by this point. When you know how rammed Pacha can get, the sight of ample floor space that wouldn't have the punter behind you chewing on your hair was a good un'. Maceo's dexterity lies in his ability to craft immersive sets that are heard to gather influences from acid house to new romanticism - it's wholly his sound and when an artist is confident in their objectives and abilities it makes for a stellar experience.

He's bolstered Pacha as being a hotspot for deep, gnarly sounds of the underground and last night's performance with island legend, Pippi the Panda Lady, behind the decks with him in full appreciation mode instilled a collective desire to see Maceo return in 2017. Here are our reasons for why his multi-dimensional residency should make a reappearance in next season's calendar.

Bold stunts

Maceo strives to go the extra mile and do something different to test himself and the possibilities of set performances. In July, he played at 10 different Ibiza venues in 24 hours, with the purpose being to “capture the essence of Ibiza musically and visually.” He was accompanied by a close-knit crew and a modest legion of followers who made it their mission to beast along for the ride. The stops included the Pacha 57 Sail Boat, overlooking Es Vedrà, and what was a huge highlight for me personally – the abandoned Festival Club nestled up in the hills above the small town San Jose. At this year's ADE festival in Amsterdam, he's taking on Rijksmuseum, which is famed for its Rembrandt and Vermeer masterworks. Audio Obscura will bring Maceo to the museum's world famous bike passage and notably, it'll be the first time the museum has collaborated with an electronic music artist in its history. As an artist, your vision should be constantly striving to do something new, something fresh and something exciting and this is exactly what Maceo succeeds in doing. What could 2017 hold to push the boundaries? Who knows, but we bet there'll be some stunt to get the music headlines rolling.

The tunage

To tie in a little of last night's booth antics, which drove home the internal desire to get him back on Ibiza soil next season, he was on an absolute belter of a shift. Acid house was dominant throughout and in between current tracks that have been doing the rounds between venues, including Audion's 'Mouth To Mouth' and WhoMadeWho's 'Hi & Low', he hit his crowd with two stonking classics - one being Joey Beltram's 'Energy Flash', which I´d been gutted to learn I missed at the Carl Cox closing, and the other being Gat Décor's classic beauty, 'Passion'. His selections constantly have you on Shazam patrol and gems are guaranteed to be unearthed. Maceo always goes with his intuition and while you vaguely know what you might be getting with him, he's prone to smacking you into a parallel cosmos like a newly deployed guardian of the universe. Whether you like his style or not, you've got to give the man kudos for his finesse.

Pacha's underground position

As previously touched on there was a fair bit of chin scratching at Maceo's choice of venue at the beginning of the season, especially given he'd never played at Pacha before. The iconic club is strongly associated with a VIP-heavy crowd and that doesn't go down well with those who hold Ibiza's original ethos close to their hearts. Solomun proved that it could be done, and Insane on Fridays is another party that tallies up the artists that fall within the underground circuit. Maceo's residency success in its debut season has no doubt freshened the minds of some who believed a darker, moodier techno vibe would fall flat at Pacha because of the built up perceptions on what suited it.

The line-ups

His vision was to go against the grain by drafting in, alongside typical Ibiza DJs, the craftsmanship of DJs you may need an introduction to. And there's absolutely nothing better than an updated education when it comes to what we put into our ears, eh? Touching down with Maceo was artists who don't feature regularly throughout the season, or who appeared exclusively on his roster, including Agents of Time, Kiasmos, Cobblestone Jazz, Len Faki, Gold Panda, Paranoid London, Shall Ocin, Pantha Du Prince and DJ FRA. What other talent he will unearth between now and next year if he returns, we're not yet sure, but the curation is sure to be another blinder.

Carry-on afters

In Ibiza, if you find yourself swanning about at a villa after party that feels remotely exclusive, you've officially made it. Yeah sure, you can come across like a pure show-off if you hark on about it, but well done all the same, high five. If you're in the right place at the right moment and you hear “afters” with the offering of a wristband, you should be all over it, and Maceo over the course of this summer hosted some absolute beauts. Destino was one venue used for an after party and it's a pretty lush setting up there with those clifftop views over the Med. He loves an after party does Maceo, and the persistent need to keep the tunes rolling will no doubt be with him next year. We can't bloody wait. COME BACK.

WORDS | Aimee Lawrence PHOTOGRAPHY| La Skimal, Mixmag and Pacha

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