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Is it Balearic?


Art Vandelay
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Much like Yacht Rock, Balearic is an enigmatic, esoteric, loose collective of music that spans decades and genres. Ostensibly based upon the wild hedonism of parties in Ibiza of no fixed year in particular, it is essentially made up. An odd imaginary place in time with just enough fleeting moments of truth in there to ground it in reality. It's everything and nothing. It's Italo disco B-sides, dreamy folk and somehow also Status Quo. If you can listen to it with your eyes closed and imagine yourself in the picture below, it counts.

 

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I'll post some starters up, but share 'em if you've got 'em.

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Before I read the post, this was the tune that started playing in my head when I saw the photo, so I'm going with it.

 

 

I have no idea why it's called KKK and I'm not sure anyone does. '83 though. These boys were onto something.

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Now we're talking. Quest, your Italo knowledge is next level. 

 

That Chris Rea track is essential. The Version Francaise is the one. Incredible track.

 

This is a perennial bit of Italo dream-pop for when it's all got too much.

 

 

 

What shows the melting pot of the Balearic beat more than this piece of diaspora dance floor from Bananarama?

 

 

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As enjoyable a that Wesley Willis track is, it doesn’t strike me as particularly Balearic. Not laid back enough. 
 

Balearic is the stuff that DJ Alfredo used to play in the mid eighties at Amnesia. A mad mix of what was going on at the time, early house music and all kinds of crazy stuff. The original post doesn’t mention Chris Rea which is where I always start when I think about Balearic, La Version Française mix of Josephine that acidbearboy posted. 

 

Mainly because growing up as an indie kid in the 1980s he was very uncool and then all of a sudden I heard this around 1989/90 and it captured the time perfectly. 
 

Balearic is stuff you can dance to and chill out to.  Before BPMs went all crazy. 
 

Balearic is good music regardless of whether it’s cool or not. 
 

I was gonna post Chris Rea but as it’s gone I’ll post this:

 


And music inspired by Balearic:

 

 

(a man called Adam were an acid jazz band until the early house thing)

 

And this which I watched at the time:

 

 

 

 

But I fear I have jumped ahead (although the early house stuff is pretty difficult to separate from the late Balearic stuff).

 

Balearic is as influential as Chicago and Detroit and captures the spirit of eclecticism that I really loved and moved me from being an insular, callow indie nerd into having the wide tastes in music I have now. 


PS I’m wearing Castañer espadrilles as we speak. 

 

 

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On the Beach by Chris Rea definitely counts too, although I always think it's maybe a bit on the nose. Like, if you played it you'd get some eye rolls and people popping to the bar for a Campari soda.

 

My hairdresser put me on to this one last week. 

 

 

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2 minutes ago, acidbearboy said:

Did Alfredo play much disco? It’s never really mentioned. 

 

Here’s something else I class as Balearic. Just ordered the album it's from this week, as it happens. 

 

Pat Methany Group - Slip Away (1989)

 

 


I was just listening to that!

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That Pat Metheny album is amazing. I remember my Dad dubbing it over our holiday videos. 5-5-7 is the jam on there.

 

There's a few Alfredo mixtapes from the time knocking about. They definitely feature disco (a lot of Barry White) but also a lot of dubs and instrumentals. Get in where you fit in though. Like, this was apparently his go-to end of the night track and it makes perfect sense in that context, despite you only ever hearing it on Mellow Sundays on Heart FM now.

 

 

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I agree that for me Balearic is made of tunes played by Alfredo at Amnesia and later at venues like Cafe Del Mar and Cafe Mambo.  A lot of good stuff has been posted already, so here’s a few that spring to mind.

 

You guys probably already know that the  break at the beginning of this white label was sampled by Andrew Weatherall on Loaded.

 

 

 

 


 


 

 

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How about something a bit more modern? This one's for the daytime sunshine, though it might work early in your evening set to get feet shuffling and bodies swaying.

 

Mark Bardott - The Pathways of Our Lives (2017 - International Feel)

 

 

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