Cocoon In The Park
Temple Newsam, Leeds
Saturday 11th July
Cocoon In The Park has been a highlight of Leeds’ clubbing calendar for seven years now, with this year’s event pulling in just as much buzz as the previous 6. On the bill this year, aside from Mr. Cocoon himself, Sven Väth, we were all ready to be wowed by a selection of artists who have been appearing for Cocoon over a number of years, combined with a few out of the norm selections that have become favourites of the festival organisers, System.
With the festival opening at 10am, CITP starts early and doesn’t show any sign of stopping until Mr. Väth gets on the microphone late on during his extended set, in a slightly unwarranted yet pleasingly amusing wind down to when the music stops and we begin to count down to the next house and techno hiatus on the grounds of Temple Newsam.
The music was kicked off with two back to backs, the first from System’s lifelong residents Annie Errez and Bobby O’Donnell, who have been staple performers at the festival just as much as the brands head honcho. Fuse mainstays Seb Zito and Enzo Siragusa followed, with Enzo making what I count as his fourth appearance for System in a year. Unfortunately, their 10-11am and 11-1pm slots were a little early for our ears to be treated to as we arrived midway through a set orchestrated by the Innervisions maestro Dixon.
Dixon may not be akin to the sounds often synonymous with Cocoon, however Steffen’s German roots are just as legit and the Berliner has been a regular at the labels weekly residency at Amnesia Ibiza for years. His dreamy, progressive, synth heavy house and techno crossovers did however prove a suitable build as the sun shined bright and the revellers began to pile in. Melody is and has always been a big part of Dixon’s track selections and it was no different here. Not quite the same performance as previous years have given us at this time, however his ripe analog hooks and danceable drum patters provided an amiable early set. Carl Cox came on next and had the crowd bouncing for his entire set. Although maybe not at the full force some may be accustom to hearing from him, mainly due to his set position, his music did the business in attracting everyone to the front, with his ever amusing “oh yes oh yes Carl Cox in the Park” ringing out over the mic.
The day after Cocoon In The Park, it became apparent that several music publications and countless ‘underground music fans’ took to social media to express their dismay at Ricardo Villalobos’ performance. Many who didn’t attend may assume that what Ricardo Villalobos brought was something that didn’t deserve to be heard at the festival. It is my pleasure to confirm that these opinions are horrendously uninformed.
No matter where Ricardo is placed amongst a programme of music, he will fabricate a performance of the ilk that has gained him the respect he receives as one of the world’s best selectors. This means he will take an audience on a musical journey of mountainous peaks and cavernous troughs, which won’t (to the dismay of what seems like a lot of the crowd) have a ‘womp womp’.
Hair raising moments whilst he played tracks such as Kenny Larkin’s rework of Inner City’s Future and several bouncy, bass heavy grooves followed after innate moments of minimalism. What’s the point, I hear you ask? The point is to get you fixed in a groove, facing the ground with your eyes closed and feet slowly stomping a two-step, before you raise your head to the build that fires back into what all those guests at Cocoon In The Park were all looking for, a constant banging beat. The sound Ricardo has fathomed does this perfectly, which is what makes him such an interesting DJ to see and hear.
Ricardo closed his set with an 8 minute long minimal mix of two tracks carrying the sound synonymous with his name. This was done in a feat similar to last years criss cross of Hot City Orchestra’s Makula and Adamski’s classic Killer, which was incredibly impressive. This seems to be what people have been taking aim at most with abuse, however no one seems to notice that when Väth does eventually open with a tune from DJ Koze, Ricardo’s energy submerse ended and a sea of hands shot into the air. Some will fire back remarking that this is relief at Villalobos’ depart, I say that’s the exact reaction these parts of RV’s thought provoking sets are meant to incur, and that is something some listeners are never going to understand.
Finishing off the evening as he has done for the past 6 years, Sven Väth turned up the energy with this DJ Koze wallop and followed with Leon Vynehall, not quite the pulsating techno we were expecting, but it definitely got the crowd on its toes. Throughout the rest of his performance he brought it home with aggression out of Josh Wink’s I’m Talking To You and got us all slightly edgy going for an acid techno edge with most of his selections. Whilst Sven was on the decks we were all also excited to see the return of his brother Holger, who donned the stage, CO2 cannon in hand, giving us a family affair that was a pleasure to watch.
All in all, everyone put in good performances, not forgetting Richie Hawtin at the after party at Mint Warehouse (after picking up his honorary doctorate from Huddersfield University). I for one was not disappointed and will no doubt return for Cocoon number 8. Controversially to some, I hope Ricardo does too.
Words by Josh Plews
Images courtesy of Cocoon In The Park