It's a balmy Wednesday evening in Ibiza town and the intimate dinner we're expecting with Loco Dice has taken a strange turn. Following instructions to come to the first floor terrace of Cipriani, an open-air restaurant overlooking the millionaires' yachts in Ibiza harbour, when we arrive at 9pm there are already about 50 people in attendance. Waiters in bow ties circulate with trays of Bellinis and canapés, but Loco Dice is nowhere to be seen.
Instead, familiar DJ faces, including Richie Hawtin, Carl Cox, Chris Liebing, Jonny White, Hector, tINI, Dan Ghenacia and Dyed Soundorom, mingle with a stylish international coterie. There's tanned flesh everywhere, barely an exposed forearm without a sleeve of tattoos, one even sporting fresh, plastic-wrapped ink. In the distance the Old Town is illuminated so brightly it resembles a metropolitan skyline, accentuating the cosmopolitan mood. Suddenly, a two-minute warning goes out. He's on his way. As the man of the hour appears on the far side of the restaurant, the words to 'Happy Birthday' start in unison. Tonight, we discover, we're taking part in Loco Dice's 41st birthday celebrations.
Almost a decade has passed since Mixmag last documented a night out with Dice, an extended London session that finished sometime in the hazy hours of Monday evening. Back then the hip hop-turned-house DJ was surfing the peak wave of minimal, turning Circoloco at DC10 into the institution it is today. At the same time he was forging a personal reputation for marathon party endurance, both on and off the decks. Dice left Circoloco in 2006, the minimal scene imploding a couple of years after. But the Düsseldorf-based DJ and producer – who wears his Tunisian roots on his sleeve, enshrined in a tattoo of the national flag – has seamlessly evolved into one of the world's biggest DJs outright, as evidenced by those paying their respects tonight.
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