Balearic beat, also known as Balearic house, Balearic, Ibiza house or Ibizan chillout, is an eclectic blend of DJ-led dance music that emerged in the mid-1980s.[1][2] It later became the name of a more specific style[3] of electronic dance/house music that was popular into the mid-1990s. Balearic beat was named for its popularity among European nightclub and 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, such as Balearic trance.


This style was popularized at Amnesia, an Ibizan nightclub, by DJ Alfredo[4] from Argentina, who had a residency there.[5][6][7] DJ Alfredo, whose birth name is Alfredo Fiorito, has been credited as the "Father of the Balearic beat".[8] Alfredo played an eclectic mix of dance music[7] with his style encompassing the indie hypno grooves of the Woodentops, the mystic rock of the Waterboys, early house, Europop and oddities from the likes of Peter Gabriel and Chris Rea. Similar music was being played at other nightclubs, including Pacha and Ku.[citation needed]

British DJs such as Nancy Noise,[9][10][11][12][13][14][15] Trevor Fung,[16][17] Danny Rampling[18] and Electra's[19][20] Paul Oakenfold[21][22] are commonly credited with having "popularised"[23] Balearic beat, especially in the UK,[24] with Fung said to be the originator of the term.[25] In 1987, after a holiday in Ibiza, Oakenfold, Fung and Ian St. Paul[26][27][28][29][30] returned to London, where they unsuccessfully tried to establish a nightclub called the Funhouse in the Balearic style.[31] Returning to Ibiza during the summer of 1987, Oakenfold[32][33][34][35] rented a villa where he hosted a number of his DJ friends, including Danny Rampling, Johnny Walker,[36][37] and Nicky Holloway.[38] Returning to London after the summer, Oakenfold reintroduced the Balearic style at a South London nightclub called the Project Club. The club initially attracted those who had visited Ibiza and 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 Ibiza veterans 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.[39] It was 1988[40] when Balearic beat was first noticed in the U.S., according to Dance Music Report magazine.[41] Jose Padilla was an Ibizan DJ best known for his residency at Café del Mar. Also Jon Sa Trinxa, a British DJ and Producer best known for the longest residency on Salinas Beach at Sa Trinxa defines his style as being Balearic Music.

Pitchfork traces back elements of Balearic beat music to the 1982 Indian album Disco Jazz, sung by Rupa Biswas and composed by Aashish Khan. According to Pitchfork, the Bengali language song "Aaj Shanibar" from Disco Jazz contains "touches of what would now be considered Balearic beat music, with its expansive and hypnotic musical interludes." However, the album was largely unknown until its rediscovery in the late 2010s.[42]


Two years ago, a club world constantly in search of new beats and a media constantly in search of new trends were presented with a bright bouncy new baby which answered to the name 'Balearic Beat'...the fact that the only 'rule' proposed was that "there are no rules" was ignored...Then came Mr Balearic's lucky break: Soul II Soul. A mish mash of styles (soul, hip hop, reggae) all moulded over a rock solid beat met the 'anything goes as long as it's danceable' criteria—and more importantly, it allowed the world to rediscover a BPM below 122...These days in clubland, rap, house and soul freely rub shoulders with continental beats, alternative grooves, and a whole welter of diverse sounds constructed from an even more diverse set of influences. This is what 'Balearic' was all about...Laying down rules or attempting to initiate trends is completely contrary to what the 'Balearic Spirit' was all about (if only its pioneers had explained it better at the time we might not have spent two years getting to where we are now). An effective blanket ban on house/uptempo music in a club is silly, short-sighted, and narrow minded, and it won't take long for people to see it as such...What the 'Balearic concept' has taught us is that it doesn't matter what genre the track falls into, as long as the beat 'n' groove move the feet and what's on top of 'em is pleasing to the ear.

— Mixmag editorial, "Famous Last Words on Clubland's Class System or 'How We Learned to Love the Balearic Beat'". Mixmag: 71–73. July 1990.

Balearic beat records vary between house or Italo house and deep house influenced sounds and a slower R&B-influenced (under 119bpm) beat consisting of bass drum, snare and hi-hats (often produced with a Roland TR-909 drum 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. 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 Beat to 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 Ibiza generally describes Balearic beat as a music style, the island based community regard Balearic beat as a non-style or a healthy disrespect to style conformity and a challenge to the norm. It's a freestyle expression that seamlessly binds sporadic vinyl inspiration through technical flair on the turntables. Today, due to stylistic segregation in electronic dance music, few promoters and DJs dare to stretch the spectrum of styles that far in fear of losing identity and clients. DJ Alfredo still heralds the most diversity among Ibiza DJs, but generally the approach to mixing as well as the terminology, have been swallowed up by the Chillout scene.

Ibiza is still considered by some to have its own "sound", however, including 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.[43] 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.[44] These generally feature house music and certain downtempo selections, not the old style of Balearic beat, per se. Some prefer to use the term Balearic more generally, however, to apply to all of these styles.[45]

See also

Further reading


  1. ^ Gilbert, Jeremy; Pearson, Ewan. Discographies: Dance Music, Culture, and the Politics of Sound. Routledge. 1999. ISBN 0-415-17032-X. "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 subgenres which followed in its wake, for a short time at least, kept dancefloors moving to a range of grooves."
  2. ^ Evans, Helen. 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 musical forms as diverse as Public Enemy and The Woodentops, to create that eclectic, highly danceable, don't care holiday feel."
  3. ^ "the birth of balearic". 29 May 2014. Archived from the original on 19 September 2016. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
  4. ^ Anderson, James. "the birth of balearic". i-D. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  5. ^ "The birth of rave". the Guardian. 12 August 2007. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  6. ^ Kaplan, C.D., Grund, J-P & Dzoljic, M.R. (1989) Ecstasy in Europe: reflections on the epidemiology of MDMA. Instituut voor Verslavingsonderzoek, Rotterdam.
  7. ^ a b Bush, John (2001), Bogdanov, Vladimir (ed.), All Music Guide to Electronica: 'Paul Oakenfold'], Backbeat Books, [Oakenfold] ended up at the Project in 1985–86, one of the first venues for house music in England. With Fung and another friend named Ian St. Paul, Oakenfold was introduced to the exploding club-scene on the vacation island of Ibiza (near the coast of Spain) during 1987 and imported the crucial mix of house, soul, Italian disco and alternative music later dubbed the Balearic style. During 1988–89, house music and the Balearic style gestated at several Oakenfold-run club nights (Future at the Sound Shaft, then Spectrum and Land of Oz at Heaven) before emerging above terra firma as a distinctly British entity.
  8. ^ Ross, Annabel (30 December 2014). "Father of the Balearic beat DJ Alfredo Plays Australia". Sydney Morning Herald, 31 December 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  9. ^ "Nancy Noise & Leo Mas Talk". Ransom Note. 19 August 2021. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  10. ^ "AN INTERVIEW WITH NANCY NOISE". The Refuge. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  11. ^ "Nancy Noise and friends at Amnesia, Ibiza, circa 1987". No Repetitive Beats!. Tumblr. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  12. ^ "Acid flashback: Nancy Noise is the pioneering Balearic DJ and acid house hero". Mixmag. May 15, 2018. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  13. ^ Laverne, Lauren (23 August 2018). "DJ Nancy Noise on her time in Ibiza". BBC Radio 6 Music. BBC. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  14. ^ Girou, Baptiste (3 March 2017). "Beyond Paradise: In Conversation with Nancy Noise & Craig Christon". INVERTED AUDIO. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  15. ^ "The First Time I Ever... Nancy Noise On Amnesia". Test Pressing. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Biography". DJ Trevor Fung. 24 June 2014. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  18. ^ "An Oral History of the London Club That Kicked Off Rave Culture". Pump It Up Magazine. 28 December 2017. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  19. ^ "Trailblazers Season 1".
  20. ^ "ELECTRA". Official Charts Company.
  21. ^ "Paul Oakenfold celebrates M8's decade of dance". M8 Magazine. September 1998. Archived from the original on 29 September 2020. Retrieved 30 September 2022 – via Oakenfold Mixes.
  22. ^ Spearman, Kahron. "How Did Legendary DJ and Londoner Paul Oakenfold Land in Bastrop?". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  23. ^ Caesar, Ed (26 September 2022). "Solomun, the D.J. Who Keeps Ibiza Dancing". The New Yorker. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  24. ^ "A Second Summer Of Love". The Observer Music Monthly. The Guardian. 20 April 2008. Retrieved 30 September 2022 – via
  25. ^ "Trevor Fung Interview: "if you love music you just follow your heart"". July 26, 2020.
  26. ^ "Trance encounter: Can it really be 25 years since acid house was born?". The Independent. 29 June 2012. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  27. ^ The1950smoonin (16 January 2018). "The Origins of British Dance Music, Rave & Club Culture: Part 1". Steemit. Retrieved 30 September 2022.((cite web)): CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  28. ^ "acid rain sleevenotes: Part 3". Ransom Note. 19 August 2021. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  29. ^ Wilson, Greg. "Shoom Summer Of Love". Greg Wilson. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  30. ^ ""Chaos with a capital C": How Monday became the new Saturday at London's acid house haven". Mixmag. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  31. ^ "Trevor Fung · Biography". Resident Advisor.
  32. ^ "Paul Oakenfold: Bunkka". PopMatters. 1 December 2002. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  33. ^ "Interview: Oakenfold". Clash Music. 5 August 1988. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  34. ^ "Paul Oakenfold". The Vogue. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  35. ^ "NOISE: Into The Fold". Las Vegas Weekly. 1 September 2005. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  36. ^ "Johnny Walker (House music producer)". Discogs. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  37. ^ Baines, Josh. "30 years on, should we still care about the second summer of love?". i-D. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  38. ^ Armstrong, Jeremy (14 August 2017). "Pioneering UK DJ battling cancer to travel for proton beam therapy due to fans". Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  39. ^ Reynolds, Simon. Generation Ecstasy : Into the World of Techno and Rave Culture. Routledge. 1999. ISBN 0-415-92373-5.
  40. ^ "Ibiza 99: Tales From Ibiza". BBC Radio 1. Retrieved 30 September 2022.
  41. ^ Paoletta, Michael (1989-12-16). "Back To Basics". Dance Music Report. 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.
  42. ^ "How a Long-Lost Indian Disco Record Won Over Crate Diggers and Cracked the YouTube Algorithm". Pitchfork. 22 January 2020. Retrieved 15 June 2023.
  43. ^ "Sequoia Records Artists: Award Winning New Age Music, World Music, Meditation Music, Drum Music and Chill Out Electronica".
  44. ^ Sequoia Groove Ibiza-influenced chillout compilations, including the Buddha-Lounge series
  45. ^ Lynskey, Dorian (26 July 2016). "Have Ibiza's Glory Days as a Dance Music Mecca Come to an End?". Billboard. Retrieved 30 September 2022.