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Review: ENTER. closing party at Space, 2014

Richie Hawtin waves goodbye to another year of innovation and experience on Ibiza.

With ENTER., the experience starts waaay before you get to the club. I can imagine the real ENTER. fans surrounding themselves with various shades of black/grey in their homes: from clothes, to makeup, to tattoos and so on. As the season is growing quieter you notice on your drive through Playa d'en Bossa towards Space on Thursday night that the majority of people were indeed dressed in black.

The outside of the club is adorned with black sheeting and billboards thanking us for partying with them, including a billboard with all the names of those involved with running the event - a very nice touch indeed - and the use of teh ENTER artists' eyes for the posters. Even as you walk through the door inside, you walk through a large black circle with white lights. It gives a very tangible feeling of stepping into the mind of Richie Hawtin and the ENTER. crew on a level you don't see on the island all that often. Many promoters have become lazy with their presentation of a party concept, relying on a few big name DJs and some LED screens… which, frankly, just won't cut it anymore. Laziness is something you cannot accuse ENTER. of.

I'm also the photographer at Ibiza Spotlight, and so the aesthetics and interaction at a party are just as important to me as what comes out of the speakers. I don't want to be bombarded with the same or similar music at every party of club, and after being on island for several years now I look for the parties that set themselves apart from the crowd. Even simply taking a trip upstairs to the roof, Premier Etage, would do this for me. The Sub Pac silent bass system is genius. You put on a jacket and headphones and the jacket vibrates with the sounds you hear. Can you imagine a whole club filled with people experiencing that!? Great idea. Then a few meters to the side of that we have a control centre whereby the flubber gets to interact with the sound and take control of what people here. It had 10 people constantly stood around it spinning the wheels, enjoying the bright, pretty colours and it enabled them to create a slice of the party. These are the innovative ideas the island should stand up and take notice of. Nobody else is doing this… why?

On to the Sunset Terrace and you're immediately transported to Japan, with all the traditional aesthetic trimmings you might find in one of their Sukiya-zukuri style homes. Lighting is well thought out but simple and this all adds to the atmosphere. When re-visiting the sunset terrace after midnight I found resident Hito laying down some fine selections with Nina Kraviz (post Terraza set) and Bella Sarris all absolutely owning the DJ booth. It was refreshing to hear what is widely regarded as a trance anthem in Meet Her At The Love Parade (Nalin & Kane remix) by Da Hool go down well with the crowd still going strong at something like 3am.

El Salon (now Mind) had been completely transformed for the party, more so than any other room in the club. Only dull red and occasional purple lighting lit up the walls and ceiling, which had been covered in black netting with mysterious shadowy figures contorting their presumed human bodies to the dark sounds being laid down by Recondite, who was playing his own track Garbo as we entered. Often the music played is a little too ‘out there' for many, and what is usually a nice place to chill can turn into the living room from hell. The use of plenty of smoke adds to the disorientation in the space but it really worked for me on this occasion and I could have spent the whole night hiding in the corners jumping out at terrified young clubbers. Alas, on to the rest of the club.

The terrace had one hell of a line-up for the night. Nina Kraviz, Maya Jane Coles and Tale of Us. Nina set the room up appropriately with a slower, darker approach to techno. Deep basslines and some simple but solid groove made for an entirely less abrasive musical experience compared to the discoteca. Ongaku's Mihon #3 was chosen as Nina's last track, the haunting acid lines providing a nice link up for Maya Jane Coles to link up with. Taking the sound on a slightly more melodic and vocal direction, Maya dropped the beautiful Myth by UK duo Mia Dora and the crowd responded with boundless energy, Maya being a crowd favourite at ENTER.

Staying in the terrace to catch Tale of Us my hopes of a good set were actually a little lower than I would have expected at the start of the season. Catching Tale of Us at the ENTER. opening left me reeling with disappointment - where had the signature dark and epic musical adventures gone? Fortunately, the boys were properly on form for the closing and although unable to stay until close, all reports lead me to believe it was an absolute monster session. More trance numbers were dropped, with Joost Glaenburg's remix of Blue Tears by Waterspark was an absolute beauty. If you can find that on YouTube somewhere, send it to me, immediately.

Richie, seen throughout the night meeting and greeting the fans and friends of ENTER, a sizeable amount of people as you can imagine, sounded better than I've heard him all season. If I'm honest, I really wish he would replace his laptop and control units with some more straight up deck action… I can appreciate he has changed and adapted to the modern world and ‘technology' is a high part of his party and life concept, but the old school in me (I'm not even even that old school) would much prefer to see some decks involved. Regardless, his set was filled with tracks I had never heard, leaving myself, my friends and Mr Shazam utterly clueless as to what was being played.

I spent a good portion of the early part of his set stood at the back next top the lighting tech, who in this instance is as much a part of the performance as Richie. The girls dancing in the rings, the lit up rings above and behind the DJ booth, the beautifully in sync lighting and the spider like light rig hanging from the ceiling fascinated me. This isn't a party where the promoter has simply thrown in some different DJs in the various rooms and hoped to create some kind of individuality - every detail from start to beginning had been carefully thought out.

Richie says it best in his party bio, “ENTER. will be a point of entry into new experiences: from new music and DJs through to technology and the Sake we introduce people to.” I think he achieved everything he set out to achieve this season and I hope he'll be back with more unique ideas for 2015. The island needs it.

WORDS + PHOTOGRAPHY | James Chapman


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