Balearic beat also sometimes known as Balearic house music is a type of electronic dance music that is blended by a DJ. Although it first coined in the 80’s the term became used later to refer to music that was most popular in the middle of the 90’s.
The term was coined because the electronic music it described first gained popularity at beach raves and European nightclubs on the island of Ibiza which is a Balearic island. Compilations from the time period often referred to the music also as ‘the sound of Ibiza.’
However, even though the music style originated in Ibiza, it was used by UK DJ’s Danny Rampling, Trevor Fung, and Paul Oakenfold to refer to the music that they heard at the Amnesia nightclub that they head current DJ Alfredo blend.
His music was a mix of mystic rock from the Waterboys, house music, Europop, and indie hypno grooves by bands such as the Woodentops. The group then visited other prominent nightclubs around the island such as the now defunct Ku and Pacha where they heard the same sounds.
Oakenfold and Trevor Fung attempted to forward the music in London with a nightclub named Funhouse that used the Balearic style that failed. Thus, they headed back to Ibiza and hired a villa where they continued to mix tunes using the popular music style.
A year later at the end of 1987 Oakenfold once again returned to London and attempted to DJ using the Balearic style at the then popular Project Club nightclub in South London where it began to take off.
By the end of 1988 Balearic Beat began to gain ground across the UK rave clubs and soon started to get notice in the United States.
The best way to describe the style of the popular dance rhythm is a mix of deep house and R&B bass beats that include laid back swinging patterns with a bit of funk, dub, Latin, and African beats tossed in. Together all of the beats combined to create a steady trance like sound.
During the nineties a subset of the beat titled the Ibiza Trance also was used in nightclubs that included acoustic sounds from the piano and guitar.
The Ibiza DJs who invented the Balearic beat describe it as the ability of a DJ to freely transition and mix all styles of music together while UK followers of the style consider it a dance style that exists outside the confines of conformity.