- Balearic beat
Balearic Beat or Balearic House is an eclectic blend of DJed
dance musicthat originally emerged in the mid-1980s. [Gilbert, Jeremy; Pearson, Ewan. "Discographies: Dance Music, Culture, and the Politics of Sound". Routledge. 1999. ISBN 041517032X. "The musics which fed into acid house and the developing culture were various too; the heterogeneous sounds of the 'Balearic beat' which helped define it did not constitute a discrete musical genre, but an unholy mix of, among other things, hip hop, house, Mediterranean pop and indie rock. DJs' playlists temporarily situated highly disparate musics beside one another. Musical miscegenation reunited several of the dance forms that had emerged after disco, mixing American and European dance musics. Though house music was the dominant mode, the rapid proliferation of styles and sub-genres which followed in its wake, for a short time at least, kept dancefloors moving to a range of grooves."] [Evans, Helen. [http://hehe.org.free.fr/hehe/texte/rave/ Out of Sight, Out of Mind: An Analysis of Rave culture] . Wimbledon School of Art, London. 1992. "It was in the upmarket clubs of Ibiza: Pacha, Amnesia, Glory's and Manhattans, that Balearic beat was created. DJ's would mix together musical forms as diverse as 'Public Enemy' and 'The Woodentops', to create that eclectic, highly danceable, don't care holiday feel."] It later became the name of a more specific style of electronic dance music that was popular into the mid-1990s. Balearic Beat was named for its popularity among European nightcluband beach rave patrons on the Balearic island of Ibiza, a popular tourist destination. Some dance music compilations referred to it as "the sound of Ibiza," even though many other, more aggressive and upbeat forms of dance music could be heard on the island.
disc jockeys Trevor Fung, Paul Oakenfold, and Danny Ramplingare commonly credited with having "discovered" Balearic Beat in 1987 while on holiday in Ibiza. Reportedly, they were introduced to the music at Amnesia, an Ibizan nightclub, by DJ Alfredofrom Argentina, who had a residency there. [Kaplan, C.D., Grund, J-P & Dzoljic, M.R. (1989) Ecstasy in Europe: reflections on the epidemiology of MDMA. Instituut voor Verslavingsonderzoek, Rotterdam.] DJ Alfredo, whose birth name is Alfredo Fiorillo, played an eclectic mix of dance music whose style encompassed the indie hypno grooves of the Woodentops, the mystic rock of the Waterboys, early house, Europop, and oddities from the likes of Peter Gabriel. After visiting other clubs on the island where similar music was being played, including Pachaand Ku, Oakenfold and his friend Trevor Fung returned to London, where they unsuccessfully tried to establish a nightclubcalled the Funhouse in the Balearic style. Returning to Ibizaduring the summer of 1987, Oakenfold rented a villa where he hosted a number of his DJ friends, including Danny Rampling, Johnny Walker, and Nicky Holloway. Returning to London after the summer, Oakenfold reintroduced the Balearic style at a South Londonnightspot called the Project Club. The club initially attracted those who had visited Ibizaand who were familiar with the Balearic concept. Fueled by their use of Ecstasy and an emerging fashion style based on baggy clothes and bright colors, these Ibizaveterans were responsible for propagating the Balearic subculture within the evolving UK rave scene. In 1988, Oakenfold established a second outlet for Balearic Beat, a Monday night event called Spectrum, which is credited with exposing the Balearic concept to a wider audience. [Reynolds, Simon. "Generation Ecstasy : Into the World of Techno and Rave Culture." Routledge. 1999. ISBN 0415923735.] It was 1988 when Balearic Beat was first noticed in the U.S., according to "Dance Music Report" magazine. [cite journal|journal=Dance Music Report|date= 1989-12-16|title=Back To Basics|last=Paoletta|first=Michael|quote=In addition to repetitive beats and sampling, 1988 also saw the emergence of hip house, acid house, the Garage/Zanzibar styling of deep house, new Jack swing, world beat, Balearic beat, and ground beat. Some of these musical genres came and went before you could utter the word "hype" while others are enjoying success.]
The early-1990s Balearic Beat sound was typified by a distinctive, relatively heavy, slow (90–110 bpm), R&B-influenced beat consisting of bass drum, snare, and hi-hats (often produced with a
Roland TR-909drum machine) programmed in certain laid-back, swing-beat patterns; plus soul, Latin, African, funk, and dub affectations; and production techniques borrowed from other styles of dance music that were popular at the time. Vocals were sometimes present, but much of the music was instrumental. The sounds of acoustic instruments such as guitar and piano were sometimes incorporated into Balearic Beat. Major artists credited with popularizing this form of Balearic Beat include Soul II Souland Enigma. A trance offshoot, Ibiza Trance, also developed during this time. Having been primarily associated with a particular percussion pattern that eventually fell out of vogue, the style eventually faded from prominence, and its repertoire was subsumed by the more general "chill out" and " downtempo" genres.
The style of Balearic Beat is described by its inventors, as opposed to its UK followers, as the ability for the DJ to play across a broad range of styles, from early minimal
new beatto the first extended remixes of pop-songs, making Balearic DJ sets those that tend to have the sharpest turns of musical direction. While the public outside Ibizagenerally describes Balearic Beatas a music style, the island based community regard Balearic Beatas a non-style or a healthy disrespect to style conformity and a challenge to the norm. Its a freestyle expression that seamlessly binds sporadic vinyl inspiration through technical flair on the turntables. Today, due to segregation in the electronic dance musicfew promoters and thus DJ's dare to stretch their spectrum of styles that far in fear of losing identity and clients. DJ Alfredostill heralds the most diversity among Ibiza DJ's, but generally the approach to mixing as well as the terminology, have been swallowed up by the Chilloutscene.
Ibiza is still considered by some to have its own 'sound,' however, including among others the music of
Jens Gad, co-creator of Enigma, and his new chillout-world-influenced hybrid project, Achillea, recorded in his studio in the hills overlooking Ibiza. [http://www.sequoiarecords.com/artists.php#ACHILLEA Jens Gad and Achillea discography] ] Compilations such as "Global Lounge Sessions: The Balearic Sound of Ibiza", released in 2002, and Sequoia Groove's "Buddha-Lounge" series, continue to be released. [http://www.sequoiarecords.com/artists.php#groove Sequoia Groove Ibiza-influenced chillout compilations] , including the "Buddha-Lounge" series] These generally feature house musicand certain downtempo selections, not the old style of Balearic Beat, "per se". Some prefer to use the term more generally, however, to apply to all of these styles.
* [http://www.ibiza-holidays.gbr.ru.com/music.htm Ibiza Travel Guide - Ibiza Music] discusses the music of Ibiza, including Balearic Beat
* [http://www.discogs.com/release/5870 Balearic Beats - The Album Vol. 1] - information about an early (1988) Balearic Beat compilation
* [http://www.anthems.com/board/viewtopic.php?t=10551 "Spirit Of Bedrock" DJ mixes] - a series of DJ sets demonstrating the late-1980s/early-1990s Balearic and related styles
title=Last Night A DJ Saved My Life: The history of the disc jockey
edition=Revised (UK only)
publisher=Headline Book Publishing
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