No doubt the best sunset on the island - Hostal La Torre.
What is Balearic? Arguably there’s isn't a more contentious sub-genre in dance music. Joe Morris lays it out and tells us where to find it in the place it all began.
What started out as a melting pot of European pop, new beat, salsa, disco, rock and early acid-house records championed by a small collective of misfit DJ’s during the mid Eighties, is now lazily attributed to everything from insipid piano-led house music, to the blandest of coffee table ‘chill-out’ compilations you can pick up in any supermarket bargain bucket.
Balearic in 2018 perhaps isn’t made up of quite so much disparity that lit up the dance-floor of Amnesia back in 1987, but certainly it retains the same breezy eclectic aesthetic; deeply emotive and joyous music filled with atmosphere and heart. Not so much defined by any one sound; rather it’s more of a feeling, an attitude. Broadly a Pan-European movement initially, you can now count global Balearic hotspots in Melbourne, Stockholm, Osaka and Bogota.
But does that original Balearic ethos exists today in its original Ibicencan spiritual homeland, and if so where can one find it? Well, over the last few year’s pockets of resistance have started to emerge, offering up an alternative to Ibiza’s relentless gallop into vapid VIP culture, one that’s mostly sound tracked by one dimensional overpaid DJ’s often in dangerously over-crowded and soulless spaces. If not quite challenging these clubbing behemoth’s toe-to-toe, then one can easily side step this sonic purgatory to experience quality music somewhere altogether more genteel without the exorbitant door fees.
Hostal La Torre
Boasting the best sunset on an island packed with stunning sunset vistas is just one of many reasons to make the trip to Hostal La Torre. Nestled on the cliffs at Cap Negret a short way outside of San Antonio, La Torre’s music policy is programmed by International Feel’s Mark Barrott and Pete Gooding; both have a long history in Ibizan eclecticism and so are expertly positioned for a languid musical approach, purveying a soundtrack that’s carefully framed to capture the perfect atmosphere to those aforementioned stunning sunset moments each night.
Other weekly residents come in the form of UK chill out maestro Chris Coco, the father of Balearic Beat himself DJ Alfredo plus an array of international guests dropping by. Some choice sunset sessions last summer saw Lovefingers, Coyote, Kenneth Bager and DJ Harvey take the helm.
A bona fide Ibiza institution and scene of many a hedonistic soiree including Freddie Mercury’s infamous 41st birthday and once frequented by the likes of Grace Jones and Julio Iglesias, Pikes re-invented itself a few years ago as a sort of hang out for ex ravers. Run by the Ibiza Rocks team, Pikes offers a diverse programme for the discerning dancer; house, disco and even rock nights are served up in the revamped Freddie’s Boudoir. Artwork’s Art’s House is one of its recent success stories with other notable residencies from Homies, Leon Vynehall and Luke Solomon.
Similar to La Torre, Pikes on Sunday’s welcome an international array of DJs from the Balearic and chill scenes. With involvement from Sarah and Mark Broadbent, whom for years were responsible for curating some of the best line ups Ibiza has ever seen for We Love Sundays at Space, it’s an altogether more relaxed affair with an anything goes musical attitude. Regular guest selectors by the pool come in the shape of tastemakers Ruf Dug and Mushrooms Project. Looming large over them all like a modern day Paradise Garage, is DJ Harvey’s exquisite Mercury Rising party. A seven hour odyssey exploring exactly what dance music should be all about; liberty, hedonism, music without boundaries. All of which is served up to a judicious but distinctly unpretentious and open minded crowd.
The recent rise in high fidelity audio listening bars from London to Tokyo has reached Ibiza, with Petit Pereyra boasting Klipschorn sound. Predominantly a dining experience by day and early evening, the venue slips into a cosy, intimate club space by night where diverse DJ’s caress that warm analogue system.
Berlin’s Buena Ondo crew are a welcome addition to this summer’s schedule, holding down the last Thursday of the month for an eclectic session with guest selectors from the Balearic cognoscenti dropping by. Last season saw regular spots from DJ Pippi, Willie Graff and Phil Mison. With that kind of calibre on board; it's well worth a look should you find yourself in the Talamanca area.
Hostal Boutique Salinas
At the southern tip of the island hunkered behind the salt flats in a secluded palm dotted compound lies Hostal Salinas; an eleven room boutique hideaway with a strong musical vibe. Opening in 2009 by German couple Düsi Wolfmeir and Anita Dey with British DJ David Phillips, Salinas is now something of an institution.
Its Lo Cura bar on the terrace sports an impressive gigantic mural on one side, with DJ's regularly taking to the terrace throughout summer. There have been recent sound issues with the authorities (quelle surprise) curtailing planned events but hopefully the problems will be ironed out once the season kicks in, as Salinas really is a must visit in it's idyllic corner away from the hubbub.
Also run by the Ibiza Rocks team, Rooftop Nine opened a couple of years ago at Sol House Hotel outside San Antonio. Attracting a younger crowd than others in mentioned here; Rooftop Nine is worth the visit for it’s splendid view, open air DJs sets by the infinity pool and most of all, the Godfather of chill-out José Padilla holds down a residency over the summer months. That in itself is an essential reason to make the visit.
By no means a comprehensive list of the alternative musical vibe of Ibiza, frankly it has always been more fun to discover and stumble across Ibiza’s hidden delights yourself. We hear whispers of clandestine parties taking place in caves and Pine forest this summer for example. Go forth and discover and remember, the original Balearic spirit is alive and well. You just have to know where to look.