“Oh bliss! Bliss and heaven!
“Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh.
“It was like a bird of rarest-spun heaven metal or like silvery wine flowing in a spaceship, gravity all nonsense now.
“As I slooshied, I knew such lovely pictures!”
Alex, A Clockwork Orange
Judgement and Eden
- Eden, San Antonio
- Nick Gibbs
Funny how this one turned out. What started as a review of the seemingly immortal Judgement developed into something of a spiritual experience.
Judge Jules is now in his 16th consecutive year in San Antonio, and in the fickle club world that is as good as immortal. The Judge won’t budge? Well aside from a change of night, and a well read sidestep of the debacle Gatecrasher year which found him over the road in Es Paradis, it seems he really won’t.
The night got off to a great—classic—San An start. Such a shame that those who dismiss the town without knowing it do not get to see this side of San An that we have come to love so much.
We started with a post-sunset dinner at the waterfront’s new street food/taco joint Palapa. Perfect for a night out it is all about the flavour and you come away without any loss of your desire for the dancefloor. Almost as good as the food is the street cabaret of normal lives passing in front of you on the paseo. As good as anything the Port has to offer, and if I’m honest it is often much more entertaining.
The social circle was then extended by a visit to San An’s pre party bar of choice for grown ups, Plastik. Always a warm welcome and good people, faces you know and the type of place that those you don’t know when you walk in, you do by the time you leave.
All very civilised, very cool, even chic with a healthy portion of freak here and there. A million miles from the ‘reputation’ that keeps some people away.
What time did we go around to Eden? I really can’t remember. Pre at Plastik always seems to dull the senses to some extent, but I’m guessing it would have been around 1am.
Oh my days the senses were soon snapped back into sharp focus.
Son of 8
Most super clubs have damn good sounds systems nowadays. For people that grew up on sound systems where it was all about stacking as many bins as the amps could handle, which in turn was based on how much power the generators could provide, and all that in a building with the acoustics of an abandoned warehouse or country barn (because that’s what it was) pretty well any venue will sound high fidelity by comparison.
It may sometimes seem like a game of one-upmanship as clubs list their tech-spec of sound systems where visual design seems to have developed alongside audio capabilities to a level where a certain type of bloke (it’s probably mainly blokes isn’t it?) will go weak at the knees when looking at them before they have even heard a tone.
I think it fair to say that Eden’s system is by general consensus one of Ibiza’s premier league installs. Void is the brand in sound as Channel is in perfume as Zonda is in supercars. Whether they are the best may be open to debate in audio geek circles but they are without question the most aspirational.
Entering Eden in our chatting cluster of friends, and friends of friends, I might normally have taken little notice of whoever was playing on arrival but tonight it really did hit me, BANG, I demand your attention.
I have heard many different DJ’s playing many different styles of music at Eden but without hesitation or reservation – in my opinion – nobody has got the Eden system sounding as spot on, as sweet and tight, as the incumbent booth holders Son of 8.
Now to try and explain just how good would require long and flowery adjectives and monstrous metaphors — I would be running a risk of it sounding all a bit over the top whilst simultaneously failing to convey just how good it was.
However, when sitting at my desk with my keyboard in front of me, it occurred that somebody had already written a perfect description. In Anthony Burgess’ A clockwork Orange, his near future view of urban dysfunction holds music as high above all other worldly pursuits — a sole artistic redemption in the otherwise .entirely destructive and anti social protagonist Alex.
Burgess creates a prophetically accurate technology of quadraphonic sound and music stored as data cartridges to convey a level of audio quality that sends Alex into a trance like state of euphoria when listening to his favourite Beethoven.
Alex describes his musical experience thus;
“Oh bliss! Bliss and heaven! Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeousity made flesh. It was like a bird of rarest-spun heaven metal or like silvery wine flowing in a spaceship, gravity all nonsense now. As I slooshied, I knew such lovely pictures!”
And yes, I guess that is just about perfect. Son of 8’s music at Eden was beyond sound. This is as much about ’feel’ as it is ’hear’.
Ok you could go to any heavy metal gig and feel the vibrations of bass but this was so different. It is as if the music travels through you, as if your spine is a conductor.
I once had the rather interesting experience of attending a Tantric love camp in San Miguel.
To give a reader’s digest description, the art of Tantric sex is all about channelling energy through your body to achieve stronger and more intense orgasms.
I can’t help feeling much more could have been achieved much more quickly and with much more universal success by just dumping us in Eden for a day or two. Though how Son of 8 would have felt playing to a bunch of naked hippies writhing around the place I don’t know.
Having given such bliss, bliss and heaven to my own ookos (ears), I contacted Son of 8 to talk audio . I asked their view of the Eden setup, and how they made the most of it.
“We always wanted to have our own stint on Judgement. Putting our own stamp on the residency was always the aim of the game, and we feel as though our style has diversified the line-up.
“Using the Void sound system has been a lot of fun. To use a system of such quality has only strengthened our sets throughout the season. We tend to go back to basics, making sure all of the gain levels don’t bounce over 0, if they bounce in the red, you aren’t going to get the cleanest sound.
“We also tend to get out onto the dancefloor and listen to the levels from there. Checking the volume from another point of view can be very beneficial, it’s certainly a good idea to get out there and hear what’s going on.”
So what I guess they are saying is that it is not rocket science. I have purposefully not made any real reference to their musical style—which anyway is not one you can easily pigeon hole into dance music’s genres and sub genres. I really don’t think it was what they were playing that was the difference—the point is that they were doing it very well—masters at their trade.
A bit unfair not to cover their set more so at least here is a link to their social media—you can follow it up from there.
Of course there is a flip side to the quality I heard that night—they have set a benchmark below which anything else will leave me feeling a bit ‘cheated’.
- See foot of this article for tech spec on the Void system.
DJ No Name
My opinion of how good the sound was in the hands of Son of 8 was already made while they were playing. However, it just so happened that the next DJ to take control of the decks gave the best possible reinforcement of the point you could hope for—albeit in a horribly opposite direction.
I am not going to name her as it would seem unfair — because frankly it could have been any one of 50 DJs I have seen over the past few years. I hope readers will trust me when I say I do not pre-judge. This is even to the extent I refuse to dismiss Paris Hilton as a bad DJ on the grounds I have never heard her play and so I am not in a position to do so.
That said, the statistical improbability of so many newly emerging DJ’s being ‘pin-up pretty’ does raise a question mark.
To put it bluntly, we went from audio Nirvana to a bunch of monkeys bashing dustbin lids within 5 minutes. The ‘feeling’ of the noise went from tantric orgasm to dental extraction. Not only this, but she was seemingly determined to butcher as many classic anthems as possible within her allotted time.
Again I am not a luddite campaigning for vinyl as the only true medium, but the ease of access that technology has given to budding DJ’s is akin to the advent of the AK47. A fantastic invention that gave access to hugely more people at very low cost and zero training. Despite all that, it is also responsible for the murder of millions. I feel kind of the same way about the advent of digital DJ tools/automation. Making things better and easier sometimes comes with a price.
I could go further to say that she had the cheesiest and most narcissistic graphics I have ever seen but I might start to sound a bit bitchy. They were though, all ‘love me I’m …… ‘, well I won’t say who.
All of this is of course in my humble opinion and I am the first to admit this may well count for very little.
I cannot write this article fairly without acknowledging that she had far more people up on the dancefloor and so if that is the measure of a DJ, I am talking rubbish.
At last, time to shut up with all the critique, and enjoy the music in the safe hands of the Judge. The dustbin lid bashing monkeys were put to bed for the night and we returned to his slick and tight set—but with a much more eclectic range than I was expecting.
If you are going to go out there who better than the brothers—and Boom Boom Boom, everybody say wayo had the party bouncing.
We had some clever stuff along the way in the next two hours—a cheeky Café del Mar vs Last Night a DJ Saved my Life came out of nowhere, and a classic of all classic anthems Rozalla’s Everybody’s Free was given the respectful treatment it deserves. Sorry but it is a real bugbear, if you mess with the big ones you have to do it well.
After another unexpected diversion to an extended play with Run DMC’s Jam Master Jay (I definitely didn’t see that being in Jules’ box), he ended the night with another huge tune in Delerium’s Silence.
5am and we had a quick chat as he handed over to Futuristic Polar Bears (possibly mates of Dustin Lid Monkeys). Turns out he is then off straight to the airport for a 7am flight to Manchester where he is playing all day at the City’s LGTB festival.
I mean it’s not like anyone is trying to make him budge, but if anyone tried I wouldn’t rate their chances.
Read our interview with Judge Jules here
Hear For Yourself
- You have a couple of weeks left to hear the Eden sound in all its glory this season. The closing party is on September 29th. See the full Eden Line Up here.
- There are two more Judgements, 16th September and the 23rd September. For those wanting the full spiritual experience the good news is that Son of 8 are on the bill for both. Go get converted.
In 2013 Eden had a complete top to bottom refurbishment. New owner Rinco Soesman had already gained a clubland reputation for his ‘no compromises’ sound system in his Amsterdam based venues. Eden was seen as an opportunity to push what can be achieved further still, in his words “The goal was to create one of the most sonically and visually impressive environments on the planet”.
Having already installed Void in Holland, the partnership was already established, and Void’s mighty Incubus flagship system was the outcome – but customised in gold for that extra dash of pizazz.
Void now showcase the Eden sound as a case study in the very best of what can be achieved. For those of us without the technical depth in sound engineering to understand the functions of the various components we can at least be wowed by it both looking and sounding superb. But for those who love the tech, the system spec is the core Custom Gold Incubus Sound System, Air Motions, Tri Motions, Airtens, Stasys X V2 Low Frequency Enclosures and a plethora of various Venu series speakers as fills throughout the club.
An example of how this quality is reflected is in Eden’s seamless soundfield. In a lesser install the separate and/or more distant speakers will have a slight, but noticeable time lag. Position yourself between two sound zones and it is an offensive clash. No chance of that in Eden wherever you roam.
Whether or not you have personally heard Eden’s system, if you are in any way connected to the current clubbing world you will know of Void’s stellar reputation as the masters of sound. Rog Mogale is the founder and chief designer at Void Acoustics. Here is what he had to say.
“Eden asked us for the best sound system in Ibiza. I believe we have delivered the best system in the world. I have always wanted to create an aural experience where the human body was the limiting factor; Eden’s non compromise approach has allowed me to accomplish that and more”