Popping off to Ibiza


What might Dave and Sam have been listening to as they chilled in the Balearics?…

Whilst people have been listening to calming music forever, it’s only in the last 20 years that ‘chilling’ has become an officially sanctioned activity. Many people don’t even realise that the inoffensive ‘chillout’ music that has become the soundtrack to every insurance commercial and naff high street bar was originally a far more lively part of the soundtrack of Ibiza. The proper Ibiza of hedonistic eurotrash wearing white billowy clothes and dancing around in open air clubs in the 1980’s. Balearic music is actually a fairly mongrel genre, as there’s no real defining sound or style – it’s just about the ‘vibe’. In fact, almost anything could be called Balearic, as long as the person listening to it can somehow associate the sound with a nebulous feeling that it might sound great whilst off one’s nut and dancing in the sunshine. However, despite the lack of an agreed style, there are tunes that have come to be regarded as classics of the ‘genre’, of which here are a select few:

Whoever would have thought that easy listening staple Herb Alpert would one day lose his Tijuana Brass band and find himself recording an album of woozy electronic californian sex music? Not my gran, thats for sure. This video features a tune that became an Ibizan classic, along with awesome soft focus footage of Mr Alpert getting all frisky on Mrs Alpert, which is kind of like watching your parents dirty dancing at a wedding after their drinks have been spiked. Those many fans of gangsta rap amongst you will recognise the break from ‘Rise’ as being the sample used by The Notorious B.I.G in his 1997 classic Hypnotize.

Here I find myself posting a video of Chris Rea. It’s actually surprisingly good. I’m not sure how a man from cold, grey Middlesbrough managed to become the ibizan soundtrack of choice, but this record in particular is revered as one of 80’s Ibiza’s seminal tunes

Now for a record that doesn’t need any form of explanation as to why it’s Balearic – Flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia is an amazing musician who has an enviable skill with the guitar. Some of his fretwork seems almost imposssibly fast, yet his luxuriant sideburns remain glacially cool throughout.

And finally, here’s modern day chillout purveyors Groove Armada roping in Ritchie Havens for their live version of early 80’s ibizan anthem ‘Going Back to my Roots’. Havens looks like an Indian Fakir who’s been living on top of a pole for decades, but manages to turn in a pretty lively performance – despite having apparently forgotten how to hold a microphone…

A version of this post originally appeared on The Dabbler in November 2010.
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About Author Profile: Worm

In between dealing with all things technological in the Dabbler engine room, Worm writes the weekly Wikiworm column every Saturday and our monthly Book Club newsletters.