Balearic Essentials

Balearic Essentials

One of the Balearic islands off Spain’s Mediterranean coast, Ibiza is said to be a mystical place charged with magical energies; perhaps that explains the musical alchemy that gave birth, in the ’80s, to the esoteric style of Balearic beat. It was there, on the island’s all-night, open-air dance floors, that restless selectors like DJ Alfredo began mixing up an anything-goes soundtrack out of disco, reggae, synth-pop, soft rock, and more. The style’s common denominators were slow tempos, psychedelic frequencies, and the kinds of exotic accents meant to appeal to a mixed crowd of hippies, artists, and jet-setters. Ironically, little of the music spun there was actually Spanish in origin, though many of the scene’s biggest hits—French-Belgian group Antena’s lilting “Camino Del Sol” and Italian group Sueno Latino’s house anthem “Sueno Latino”—nodded to Iberian and Latin American influences. Most surprising of all were the pop songs that Balearic DJs repurposed as ambient mood-setters, like The Cure’s languid “Lullaby” and Enya’s gorgeously atmospheric “Orinoco Flow.”

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