The Carl Cox & Friends Stage
It was the tenth anniversary of Ultra building an aircraft-hangar-like Mega Structure for U.K. rave godfather and skull-crackin’ techno lifer Carl Cox, who both performed and curated the lineup therein. A party-scene fiend who has emerged with his wits and skills intact, the 50-ish Cox has not lost a step and DJ’d three times over two days, including a back-to-back set with Grammy-nominated U.K. producer Nic Fanciulli. Other guests included: Chilean techno-house pioneer Luciano; German-Tunisian minimal-techno badass Loco Dice; and electronic dance music’s global envoy Pete Tong. But the highlight was a hypnotic yet roiling set by Iranian-American tech-house maestro Ali "Dubfire" Shirazinia, of Grammy-winning house duo Deep Dish (who played a Saturday night show, reuniting after their 2006 breakup). Dubfire’s subtly trippy, late-afternoon shelling gave techno a sinewy glimmer and house a thundering soul-clap, regularly sending unexpected shivers. It was the sort of music that deserved to be heard in the most ecstatically inclined state possible.