VA: Enter.Ibiza 2013

At four discs, Enter.Ibiza 2013 would seem to take the mix CD concept to an almost ridiculous extreme, but an argument in this case can be made for such excess: the recording is designed to simulate the experience a listener might have over the course of a long evening when visiting four different areas of Enter.Ibiza Experience at the Space Night Club. Specifically, the first disc introduces us to the pre-party at Enter.Sake with Japanese DJ Hito guiding the listener into the venue with a comparatively subtle mix, the second sees Barem stationed at the Enter.Terrace area for an intense house-heavy set, the third features Paco Osuna drawing the clubber into Space's main room for hard-driving techno, and the fourth, Enter.Air, finds Matthew Hawtin easing the bleary listener gently down and out the door. Of course, the release, while perfectly functional as a stand-alone, also acts as an analogue to the July-to-September Enter.Ibiza 2013 event itself.

It goes without saying that the amount of music on the release and the number of artists included are staggering. As such, while it might not be its intended purpose, Enter.Ibiza 2013 offers a soild primer for anyone wanting a single-release overview of a scene, in this case experimental techno (think of a name associated with minimal techno and you'll probably find the artist here). Truth be told, there's so much content presented, the individual tracks (sixty-five in all) start to blur together, much as they would during an actual night-long visit to the site. And too much shouldn't be made of the set differences; while it is more restrained than the two middle sets, Hito's includes more than its share of grooving moments (hard-hitting, too, as evidenced by the D'julz remix of Barem's “Is”) and even gets a little freaky (during Fabrizio Maurizi's “Bring Me Back”). His is also an oft-jaunty ride, with cuts by Luciano & Guy Gerber, Martin Buttrich, Tractile, and Gregor Tresher among those featured. And too much also shouldn't be made of the fact that Enter.Ibiza 2013 is released on Minus and that many of the contributors are label associates, as many artists without formal Minus ties appear as well.

Barem's set kicks into gear immediately, with Kate Simko's swinging “Go On Then” and its delectably soulful vocal by Jem Cooke an early highlight but by no means the only one. Keeping the steamy house vibe going, “Buggin Me” by Elias R and Sage Armstrong and “Moosel” by Reset Robot kick up serious dust, too, while a Dale Howard rerub of Qmusse's “Red box” sneaks a smattering of deep house into a mix that once locked into its locomotive pulse pretty much stays there for the duration. Paco Osuna brings the heat to his similarly steamy set via Sable Sheep's funky “Hell Is Empty” and Loco Dice's “Lolopopinho,” gradually winding it up with Carlo Lio's “My Thang” and Gaiser's “Trashbend” before cranking it to the max with Audion's “Motormouth.” Diametrically different in tone, Hawtin's disc is subdued by comparison, its nineteen tracks a mix of deep ambient (OMFO's “Sirtaki On Mars”) and pulsating electronica (Johan Agebjörn's “Zero Gravitation,” Gabriel Le Mar's “The Beat Beatless”). Rhythm isn't absent but is more defined by animated synthesizer patterns than beats per se (Jay Riordan's “Time to Chillage” the rare exception), and listeners with a healthy appetite for synth whooshes and electronic soundpainting won't be disappointed. Tracks by Plastikman (a Miller & Jones mix of “Are Friends Electrik”) and CoH (“Suppernature”) appear alongside texturally rich settings (Maxi:mizer's “Slowburn”) and serenades (Upstate's “Outer Drive”).

As mentioned, the mixes do tend to present themselves as mutating wholes rather than as individual pieces, yet certain tracks are so ear-catching they can't help but pop out, foremost among them Sidney Charles's “House Lesson” (disc two), which, true to its title, offers hilarious step-by-step instructions for building a house track (e.g., “The first thing you have to do is start off with a strong kick drum…”), and John Lagora's “Simper Crack” (disc three), which shreds a vocal fragment (“I hope that someone gets my…”) from The Police's “Message in a Bottle” in impossible-to-ignore manner.

October 2013