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What Does Balearic Beat Actually Mean?

Jane Bussmann, Once In A Life Time, Balearic Beat, Description, Test Pressing

Balearic Beat is one of those terms me and Rob discuss occasionally at Test Pressing. Well not so much “Balearic Beat” more the shortened “Balearic”. I remember talking to Nancy Noise a while back (she should know) and she said “well its eclectic rather than Balearic”, but I guess as a catch all term it is an easy way to describe much of the music we love.

I was away in Sweden with Anders from Parlour on the weekend playing records and when out and chatting to some of his friends someone was like “well what do you two play?”. It’s a hard one to explain to be honest but I’m re-reading Jane Bussmann’s brilliant “Once In A Lifetime” book at the moment and she nails it. As we know we are now well into the second wave of a new Balearic scene but next time I need to explain what its all about this might be a good place to start.

“House was straightforward: it was elating, soulful, American electronic dance if you were British; perverted nigger faggot music (harsh – Ed) if you were American. Balearic Beat has no such clean musical definition as the name describes the feeling of the music rather than the records themselves. Born under the starts in Ibiza, Balearic Beat was Alfredo’s baby. Paul Oakenfold and Danny Rampling kidnapped it and raised it indoors in cold, grey London. Any bloody tune from hearty Mediterranean pop like Enzo Avitabile’s “Blackout” to sleeve-tugging indie like “Driving Away From Home” by It’s Immaterial was Balearic. Balearic Beat was a smudgy description of a whole shower of oddball records that had that elusive, naughty, outlaw, stomping, sunny, happy something.”

If you’ve never heard of the book and want an insight into the craziness that happened in the UK from ’88 onwards there probably isn’t a finer account out there than “Once In A Lifetime”. It doesn’t glamourise drugs its just honest – “the great thing about people who didn’t take drugs was that there were more for those that did”. It’s full of first person accounts, well worth checking and will have you cracking up.

Anyway, as a genre, Balearic Beat is about as good as it gets and we’ll have it all thank you. x.

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