With its heavily reverbed snares and fingered bass, Balearic Beats – The Album Vol. 1 may seem a little dated nearly 25 years since its release, but it’s a great insight into where the Balearic scene has come from. Opening with Electra’s Jibaro, the album settles into a groove much slower, but often busier, than the acid house that was dominating the clubs in late eighties London.
Patch-worked and eclectic, here you’ll find brass stabs alongside sampled vocal loops and synth arpeggios that were cutting edge at the time, all on a bedrock of solid grooves and the four to the floor beats that would come to shape much of dance music in later years.
Aside from the beat, one thing binds this album together: a sense of light-hearted decadence. Given that it grew out of a pre-boom Ibizan club culture, that makes sense and it’s a little surprising to hear, a quarter of a century later, what has and what hasn’t changed. The instrumentation might sound horribly outmoded at times, but it’s hard to deny the boozy, sundrenched sense of freedom that stitches these otherwise mutually anachronistic tracks together.