Maceo Plex’s 20-week residency at Pacha rewrites the Ibiza script

Ask any techno enthusiast what the best club in Ibiza is, and you’ll get one of three answers – Amnesia, Space or DC10. That’s the holy trinity of techno and has been since the end of last century when the genre first emerged on the White Isle with Cocoon, Carl Cox and Circoloco respectively. While Pacha’s status as a world-class venue is undeniable, the leather and chrome clad palace is usually associated with Flower Power and David Guetta’s controversial horse theatrics, rather than techno nights.

Maceo Plex never got that memo though, as in February he announced Pacha as the venue for his 20-week residency for 2016, his first ever artist-led residency in Ibiza. He also came out with one of the quotes of the year in explaining his philosophy for the event, announcing his desire to bring the island “something else other than loopy fitness tech house”.

Maceo Plex Mosaic 1

It’s Tuesday night, which means the third instalment of Maceo’s residency – Mosaic – is tonight. This writer hasn’t had a night off since Friday, but there are beats to be dropped and feet to be stomped, so I suck up the exhaustion as best I can. It’s the Ibiza way.

Fiberroot is just finishing his warmup set in the main room. As his energetic techno vibrates the walls, a group of 5 blokes – immaculately dressed in tailored trousers and shirts – have taken over the middle of the dance floor and are busting some dazzling choreographed moves. It’s equally quaint, hilarious and refreshing to see, compared to the listless two-stepping that often pervades these types of parties.

Maceo Plex Mosaic 2

Icelandic duo Kiasmos shortly take over for their live set as the room begins to fill up. Kiasmos deal in experimental, minimal, avant-garde music that falls loosely under the techno umbrella – although piano-driven techno probably isn’t something you hear every day. They are playing in a different booth on the other side of the room, with an LED display showing a visualisation of dramatic landscapes.

The music is so deep, minimal and melodic that it wouldn’t be out of place at a seated concert, although the Pacha crowd don’t seem to mind as they dance away energetically. They are eclectic in age, ethnicity and fashion sense, but united in their pursuit of a good time. The set reaches a climax with “Thrown”, a soothing electronica track featuring violin and xylophone harmonies and a throbbing synth line that sounds like a cross between deadmau5’s “Faxing Berlin” and the guitar riff from Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “By The Way”. Somehow, it works. Quite well, actually.

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At 2.30am, Maya Jane Coles enters the building. A firm Ibiza favourite renowned for her versatility, she immediately picks up the pace with some high energy, good vibe selections. There’s something captivating about watching the diminutive British-Japanese DJ take charge of a party. She often seems oblivious to the dance floor frenzy she is causing as she leers at the mixer with menacing intent, before breaking into a delighted grin when she finally looks up and sees sweaty heads and euphoric faces everywhere.

I enjoy this exuberance for about 45 minutes, before wandering off to the Funky Room where Keinemusik heroes &Me and Adam Port are playing b2b for 5 hours and dishing out consummate disco vibes. And the keyword here is VIBES! I’ve never actually been to the Funky Room before, but it could be any tiny underground club in Europe, albeit one with a glass wall allowing a full-frontal view of Pacha’s opulent main room.

It’s pure intimacy, with a humble DJ booth on the same level as the dance floor, a BANGING sound system, and couldn’t possibly fit more than 100 people in it. There’s some intense energy in this room, so dense you could swim through it, thanks in no small part to the class disco tunes oozing from the speakers.

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Back down in the main room, MJC is just handing over to Maceo amid thunderous applause. She graciously returns the applause as he steps up to the decks and launches into his trademark brand of industrial, but atmospheric and pensive techno. The dance floor is busy, but pleasantly not too rammed, allowing a level of fervent dancing that isn’t always possible in Ibiza clubs. As Maceo’s first track builds up, the ceiling explodes with purple and black confetti, coinciding perfectly with the first drop. Such showmanship!

For the next 3 hours, Maceo Plex demonstrates exactly why he’s one of the hottest names in the game right now, delivering a world class musical experience which somehow manages to maintain a carefree party thrill despite the emotional intensity of his tune selections. Almost immediately, I realise that Pacha is, in fact, exactly the right venue for this party.

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The name Mosaic is a reference to the music policy, but it equally applies to the myriad characters that come to party here, who bring with them a joyous zeal, devoid of the musical snobbery that sadly rears its head in many other clubs across Europe. Also, the leather couches come in handy when the debilitation of dancing for days finally catches up with you!

The night closes out with some very special b2b2b action as &Me and Adam Port finish their set in the Funky Room and come to join Maceo for a bit of techno for the final half hour; a half hour which turns into nearly an hour as no-one wants to leave. And neither do I. The exhaustion is worth it, what a party! A worthy addition to the island’s clubbing calendar. Hats off, Maceo.

Photos: Mosaic / Pacha

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About the Author

Hailing from Sydney, in 2011 Donovan Murphy decided to embark on the great Australian tradition of going walkabout. He's been wandering the earth, searching for great music, wild parties and near-death experiences ever since. Donovan loves techno and tequila almost as much as he loves traveling