It's midnight and I'm cruising down Ibiza's notorious Lost Highway in San Rafael... I'm with my Ultraplay crew and some loco amigos. I could not be happier. The Techno's pumping in the car... the 'Hierbas' is flowing... but to top it all, we're on our way to see our favourite DJ - Sven Väth in what I consider to be the number one Techno club of the world - Cocoon at Amnesia in Ibiza.
As we pull up into Amnesia's dusty car park, I'm haunted by pleasant visions and memories of the past in this hedonistic place. It's mind-boggling to think that I've been coming to pay homage to Cocoon at Amnesia in Ibiza for 12 consecutive years. What is it exactly about Cocoon that keeps dragging me back to this island year after year? I mean I really do feel like I've (almost) seen it all... I remember Jeff Mills spinning for Cocoon way back in 2000. He blew the the minds of everyone on the dance floor that fateful night with the legendary Nights of the Jaguar. That was almost as memorable as the time an acrobatic female-humanoid caterpillar burst out of a giant egg in the center of Amnesia. I remember Richie Hawtin, Luciano AND Ricardo Villalobos all spinning vinyl back to back as one united trio in Amnesia's house room, giving each other only one record per go... That was a rare sight to behold. Then there's all the many fond memories I still hold of those magical Cocoon After Hour parties. They were something else, such as the one at Cala De Bou, where Sven Väth played the most incredible set I think I've ever heard in my entire life. Magical music...
And that is precisely why I keep coming back. I may feel I've pretty much seen it all, but the thing is... I'll never hear it all, and I don't want to miss anything. Each year brings fresh new sounds that keeps Cocoon alive and kicking, harder than ever, dragging me and helpless others back again for more... There simply is no other place on Earth like it. Can I imagine a summer without Cocoon!? - No fu*king way!!!
So, where was I? Where am I? Oh yes, Cocoon.. Me and my lovely friends are now approaching Amnesia's main entrance. You can feel the bass pumping through the floor. The building is all lit up with Cocoon's name sparkling in the eerie Balearic moonlight... my heart's pumping already and I haven't even stepped inside yet. Tonight's gonna be fu*king amazing, I know that, I can feel it in the air. My mind momentarily slips to thinking about some of my older friends who used to come here with me way back and now they've all settled down... I mean this is Monday night and they're all probably tucked up in bed right now thinking about work! I forgot it's Monday!! That's just it, this place put's you into some kind of time warp, where time become totally and utterly irrelevant. There I go again, side-tracking... I really need to concentrate on the present moment, and right now, that means getting the hell inside this club and rockin' out to some fresh beats...
After being greeted by Cocoon's friendly door staff, we decide to check out the house Room, a great place to warm up and get fully into the vibe of the night. The room is looking as gorgeous and lush as ever. What a presentation. Impeccable lighting and decoration, typical of Cocoon's fussy attention to detail and flawless production. Changing colours of light shine through beautiful long drapes of white translucent material which slowly sway in the breeze of Amnesia's powerful air conditioning system. One of the best things I like about Amnesia, other than it's amazing sound system and layout, is the fact that where ever you stand in the club, no matter how packed it is, the air always feels fresh (unlike some Ibizan clubs I could mention...). A couple of the friends I am with are Ibiza virgins and this is also their first time in Cocoon at Amnesia. They gasp in disbelief at the sheer size and quality of this club. They've never seen anything quite like it. I proudly waltz them around the dance floor, loving the fact that they are loving it so much.
"So who's that girl DJing right now?" one of my friends ask? I look over to DJ booth and it's German DJ, tINI. She's pumping the deep house and doing a fine job, setting the mood and ambiance just right, ready for what's to come later...
We soak up the early sounds of the house room and all head over into the main room. It's time for some Techno... But what's this? house music in the main room?...is that vocals I can hear? What the hell is going on? Who's playing house in the main room? ...the answer is Joris Voorn. Hearing house in the main room is not something I've experienced before at Cocoon, but I welcome it with an open mind and I must say it's working a treat. Joris isn't playing any fluff, it's proper house music, expertly mixed in and out of some cracking tunes that really get the main room warmed up ready for Cocoon's main man Sven Väth.
We hit the bar to neck some shots of Hierbas, when some sweaty wide-eyed, grinning man grabs hold of me, hugging me, asking me where I am from... My response isn't so enthusiastic, but not wanting to disappoint my new found friend I tell him who I am and what I do. Big mistake, as my ears then get bombarded by a non-stop stream of high-speed conversation and spit, in what seems like an endless loop. That is, until I am thankfully rescued and pulled away by my giggling friends who appear to have become a little wide-eyed themselves.... they drag me back into the house room, which has now filled up big time. The music is sounding awesome, I check the booth and there's two bearded dudes twiddling what looks like a lot of knobs and faders! I'm not the only one checking them out, these two are creating plenty of attention, not with their looks, but with their sound. This must be the Romanian duo I've heard about called 'Premiesku'. These guys are proper gadget freaks. They play live using a custom analog set up with three special designed consoles, apparently - without a computer!! Whatever the hell they are using, or doing, it's sounding damn good to me and the other few thousand people bopping along to this lovely groovy shit. Awesome. Premiesku - definitely rock!
Clash of the Titans.
I hear a distant voice shout "Sven Väth!", so I gather my troops and head for the main room. It's packed. We make our way through the thousands of clubbers to the front-middle of the dance floor, to get that perfect quadraphonic sound experience. It's absolutely packed in the main room - to say the very least. This time the music is most definitely Techno, thunderous Techno, but not mind-less, it's mind-full, graceful, elegant, sophisticated, it's drenched in melody, atmosphere, drama and suspense... with that 'Cocoon sound'... something amazing is about to happen... We look up and see the unmistakable, mischievous grin of Sven Väth! Like a mad professor, excited at the chance to be given the opportunity to experiment on 8,000 subjects, he expertly lowers the music whilst everyone cheers in adoration, happiness and celebration. The suspense builds, the dancers bend their bodies over the rails, then BOOM the track kicks in at full pelt, whilst our bodies are hit with an intense blast of Amnesia's giant 'dry ice' smoke machine! Sven Väth is rockin' the main room like no other can. The music that follows quite simply goes beyond words. How can I possibly explain the sounds Sven Väth is playing out of that monster sound system. I've been listening to Techno for years and I've heard some good shit, but in my opinion nothing compares to the incredible variety of Techno that Sven Väth plays. It's just unreal. What makes it even more so special hearing his music in Amnesia, is that crazy colossal sized graphic equalizer that literally 'illustrates' the music whilst he plays it, I mean you can actually 'see' the music in all it's volume and velocity. But the music... it's all about the music and for me, Sven Väth is the absolute master of Techno.
I look around to my friends, who are smiling in awe, along with the entire dance floor of what, 8,000 people is it? Everyone is happy, but just when you think things can't get more intense than this, the crowd starts dividing and people are pushed aside by the security. Then a 3 or 4 meter tall, gigantic robot enters the room! It's Kryoman!!!
This thing is covered in hundreds of bright white LED's. Kryoman stomps around on the ground, pressing buttons and flicking switches like it's about to do some crazy shit. It then grabs two massive lazer guns from it's hips and points them at Sven Väth's head! Blue lazers shine out of the gun onto the head of the Cocoon boss. Everyone's jaw is on the floor, this is eye popping stuff!! Really. Smiling, Sven Väth then gestures to the Kryoman to lower his guns down, and the robot obeys. Kryoman then starts spinning on the spot as if it was tied to a pole. It spins faster and faster ... lights start shooting out of it, it then starts lifting up in the air, like really high up. The audience can't quite believe their eyes. Nor can I. Kryoman extends it's arms and fire shoots out from it's hands! Then it slowly comes back down to the ground and starts running around the dance floor shooting dry ice at everyone from it's guns!! It appears I haven't seen it all... This all happens whilst Sven pumps the Techno. It's a bit like a deleted scene from the film Blade Runner, but more fu*ked up.
We end up getting split up in all the excitement, but then I manage to spot some of my droogs' up on the balcony, so the rest of us head up there. We get to the balcony, and peer down into the house room and what a sight it is. It must be near 7am by this point. Unlike the main room which is still drenched in darkness, over here in the house room, it's full on daylight - and a full on room! Loco Dice is rockin't the hell out of the house room and I have never seen it so packed out! The dance floor must be packed to it's limit. Clearly, no one wants to go home. Loco Dice keeps spinning a multitude or killer tech-house tracks, which everyone is just loving. The atmosphere is extraordinary, almost like what I imagine the atmosphere of a Gladiator's amphitheatre to be like. The sheer amount of people absolutely 'having-it' is just unreal. There are no signs anywhere, of anyone leaving.
We hit the dance floor one last time, legs exhausted, but with our minds still hungry... just as we do, the music finally stops. People shout for one more, but the party is over. Just as well because my legs feel like they are about to drop off!
What a night! ...or day should I say.
Cocoon... YOU ROCK!!
Review by Darren C
Club Photos by Frank Weyrauther
'Amnesia The Lost Highway' Photo by Courtney
Big thanks to Johannes Goller (Cocoon)
Photos Copyright © Weyrauther & Courtney 2012. All Rights Reserved.