A great balearic selection from Swedish DJ Jens Peterson Hällefors. Last year Jens plundered the catalogue of EMI records to start a series of albums with a Balearic slant that has now reached 14 volumes. Jens’ mix captures perfectly the spirit of those eclectic 80’s Ibiza DJ sets so hopefully this will be the first of many mixes from him. More about the compilation series below from the eMusic website.
“Like Krautrock and Northern Soul, Balearic Beat is a genre not recognized by those who created it. And, like the aforementioned musical categories, it was the Brits who bestowed this name on the sound they “discovered.” As the story goes, UK DJs Paul Oakenfold, Danny Rampling and Trevor Fung holidayed in Ibiza, one of Spain’s Balearic Islands, in 1987. Chicago’s thumping house beats were sweeping clubland’s most forward-leaning dancefloors while aggressive, four-to-the-floor house remixes started streamlining and homogenizing records originally recorded as R&B, Latin freestyle and synthpop.
But in Ibiza, dance music was still all over the board: Quirky recent Europop hits, New Wave oldies, early house, offbeat disco, art-rock, jazz-funk, world music, dub reggae, near-ambient cuts — nearly any ’70s/’80s style with a syncopated rhythm that felt good in warm weather and got tourists dancing — were all being played at clubs like Amnesia, which sported an open-air dancefloor that heightened the free-spirited Mediterranean vibe.
Oakenfold, Rampling and Fung then brought Ibiza’s eclectic programming philosophy back to London. Unlike other genre trends favored by the DJ cognoscenti, the resulting Balearic Beat didn’t take hold because it was intrinsically pan-genre and anti-trend — like Northern Soul, the name referred to the region that claimed certain records as its own, and not to their place of origin. Balearic’s embrace of anything-goes grooves slower and gentler than house’s pounding 120-and-up BPMs paved the way for massive international hits by Soul II Soul, Enigma and other acts that went on to inspire chillout and trip-hop. As the current wayward programming of Lindstrøm, Aeroplane and other recent EDM fusionists have proven, Balearic is arguably hipper than ever today.
We’re explaining all this because we’d like to share our enthusiasm for a ridiculously entertaining series of compilations that have been in our library since last fall but feel particularly right for this summer. Compiled in Sweden by EMI staffer Jens Peterson Hällefors, the Balearic series is arguably the most out-there digital-only collection of music ever presented by a major label. At 11 volumes specializing in house, rock, soft rock, leftfield dance, electronic, world, reggae, pop, ambient, progressive rock and “blend” (an introductory sampler), Balearicgoes deep, deeeeeep into the aesthetic to embrace both familiar cuts and oddities that will delight even the most dedicated diggers. Some are bona-fide Ibiza classics while many are choice cuts presented in the same boundary-crossing spirit, yet with a Scandinavian slant: This is the first time that most of the Danish, Norwegian and Swedish acts presented here alongside their American, English, German, Jamaican, Japanese, Brazilian, French, Belgian, South African, Australian and Spanish brethren have ever snagged a legitimate international release.”
Written by Barry Walters and available from www.emusic.com