Dancing Astronaut Does Ibiza: Carl Cox kicks off Space residency with ten-hour performance
Amid a backdrop of blistering sunshine, sizzling tapas, and a beautiful Mediterranean coastline, Dancing Astronaut has officially arrived in Ibiza. We’ve previewed the parties, broken the headlines, looked on with envy as our Spanish compatriots danced until sunrise to the world’s top techno, and now we’ve been there to experience the madness firsthand. Through a series of narratives, we’ll be reviewing some of the biggest parties in Ibiza as part of our running feature Dancing Astronaut Does Ibiza.
The first leg of our journey begins with a staff favorite – the oh-yes man himself — Carl Cox. The English legend may be one of the longstanding kings of the Miami scene, but his US reputation will always be trumped by his unparalleled renown in Ibiza. For 13 years now, Cox has championed Space Ibiza with a world-class residency. Last Tuesday, Carl kicked off 2014’s stint with his Music is Revolution Opening party, featuring a ten-hour set from the man himself.
In a world of typically hour long DJ sets, ten hours seems a bit ludicrous. Yet when I left Space at Ibiza at 6:30 in the morning, Cox was still going strong into the 11th hour of his performance.
At midnight, the party was just ramping up. Carl was pulverizing the crowd with some bullish techno, merging from one ferocious bassline to the next with relentless precision. As time passed seemingly without a stitch, the crowd had congealed into a bulging mass of shuffling shoes and sweat-stained shirts, and Carl was doing what he does best: stacking tracks like a mad man and leading us head first into the ensuing chaos. A quick glance at his laptop displayed all four decks of Traktor in motion, with some set on shorter loops and others chugging along with dexterously modified EQ adjustments. Vocal loops rang out endlessly as he chopped and spliced them into pieces. Meanwhile, the charging beat would descend out in a flurry of delays, only to give way to the ramping tension of pads and swirling white noise as the impending next song took over. At times, the sporadic arrangements seemed to tiptoe on the edge of madness, yet, like any great DJ, Carl has the uncanny ability of taming the beast moments before mayhem.
After an hour or so of his artistic techno mosaic, Carl picked up the groove a bit with some potent tech house, seamlessly blending track after track with an observable ease. As his music took us into the wee hours of the morning, a steady procession of theatrics occupied the dance floor. Aphrodisiacal dancers on stilts beckoned the audience, while a giant spider web ensnared the crowd and an enormous LED robot armed with CO2 cannons towered above the onlookers.
With the sunrise encroaching, Carl appeared miraculously undeterred. His music has shifted into a late night selection of more progressive and melodic techno, highlighted by slower tempos and a more relaxed mixing style. It was no longer about mashing track on track, but rather the seamless flow of music. At times, his presence would melt into the background, as the blissful techno hypnotized the crowd into a more soporific state. Every now and then, however, Carl would make his presence known again, introducing a raucous build up and alerting the audience of his unyielding fervor.
When it finally hit the ten hour mark — an incredible feat to say the least — I don’t think anyone felt the need to tell Carl. Rather, with the main room still buzzing with enthused attendees, Cox proceeded to continue his remarkable onslaught. Leaving the club, I was greeted by an orange-pale sky and an overwhelming sense of reverence for Carl Cox. I have never witnessed such a tremendous and entrancing set (let alone one so preposterously long), and I’m not sure any club performance will ever top it.
To this day, I don’t know what time Carl stopped the music, yet I kind of prefer it that way. The mystery and allure of Carl Cox’s never-ending set lives on in my memory: an immaculate exposition of one of dance music’s finest living legends.