Ever since returning from the legendary experience of Sven Väth's 50th birthday we've been gagging to get back to one of our favourite sites around, Mannheim's Maimarkthalle, the home of Time Warp.
In its 21st year, it's a festival that needs no introduction. Six arenas, over 40 artists and close to 17,000 ravers all across 19 hours. Put simply it's the pinnacle of techno, and on Easter Sunday we made the pilgrimage to witness it. Now with so many artists on show there's no right or wrong way to approach this particular quest, but these were the tracks and sets that defined our Time Warp experience.
We thought it best to kick off our Time Warp experience in Floor 1 with Rødhåd. Currently one of the most exciting artists in techno today, he threw down a set full of his signature pace and chunk. 'Distant Cry' by Cleric epitomised this perfectly.
Next up we headed over to Floor 3 to catch tINI for a dose of her signature groove and swagger. She of course didn't disappoint bringing her A-game throughout, seamlessly blending one roller into another.
We were quite simply blown away by one of the most iconic artists around. Having only two hours to show off his magic ensured Ricardo had to give you everything up front. Rarely drifting off on any tangent, he delivered relentless groove throughout, whipping the entire stage into an absolute frenzy. He signed off with a true Mood II Swing classic, sped up to around 126bpm and we were initially heartbroken to see him finish after a complete and utter masterclass.
Stepping up after the superb Villalobos was Luciano. He kept the vibe in Floor 3 sky high with a stunning set.
Next to step up to the plate in Floor 3 was Loco Dice. When we heard this creep through the system all hell broke loose.
After clocking some serious hours in Floor 3 we simply had to make the trip to check out Pappa Sven in his own back yard. It was our first time in Floor 2 and we were instantly blown away by the upgrade in production. The entire ceiling resembled a space craft from The Matrix and the attention to detail throughout the room was incredible. To boot there was Sven centre stage with his magnetic presence, waving a 12" in unison with every kick drum wallop.
One musical legend followed another and we headed over to Floor 5 to check out Garnier, a set that has continuously gone down in Time Warp history. Unique in many ways, Floor 5 is considerably smaller with a tall podium in the centre with a see through circular ceiling allowing natural light to fill the entire room. Vibes throughout the dancefloor on this one and after the customary wait (one in, one out) we were greeted with smiles from the whole crowd and classic techno material.
With a set time that clashes with Sven Väth, Seth Troxler and The Martinez Brothers, you have to really lay it down to keep a crowd. And Capriati did exactly that. He brought the speed throughout and every time we even thought of checking out another stage, he'd come straight in with another absolute smash, setting the tone for Carola to take over after him perfectly.
Once the clock struck 11am you were left with two options. Richie Hawtin in Floor 1 or Marco Carola in Floor 3. After being continuously blown away by the calibre of music in Floor 3, we felt our alliances lied in the hands of Carola but we ensured we witnessed a stretch of Richie's six-hour set. His atmospheric and methodical approaching to creating a mood before bringing through an absolute belter was quite simply genius.
Once again, Marco Carola proved to us why he is widely regarded as one of the best in the world, showcasing a scope of sound that it seems only he's capable of delivering. His set from start to finish was mind blowing. This was his final track and the packed-out arena danced like they knew this was the last thing they'd hear here for another year.
More info on Time Warp can be found here