Tuesday, 3 June 2008

THE DOG'S BALEARICS



As big as the 'don't call it fidget house' fidget house scene is at the moment, the sound of the edgiest dancefloors in the UK and Europe this summer will be what is now popularly called Nu-Balearic.

The lush and sweeping genre, exemplified by artists such as Lindstrom, Reverso 68 and Al Usher, has grown over the last few years into the most exciting and progressive sub-genre of dance music. In light of this evident popularity, Ministry of Sound are releasing a new compilation - sensibly titled Nu-Balearica - to stick on the shelves of Tesco next to their Annual 2008 or whatever.

The curious Mancunian need not eat into their CD budget to live the balearic dream - or even fly to the white isle - for we are blessed with one of the most vibrant Nu-Balearic scenes in Europe. This weekend alone you can dance to NB demi-gods Prins Thomas and the Unabombers at the Paradise Factory or pop-in on the residents at the wonderful El Diablo's or Nish Nash Nosh for similar sun-kissed disco treats.

2 comments:

I AM SAM said...

It seems that it's not just me that has seen the Ministry album press release. See below an article from Guardian journo John Burgess - a far better piece than my ramble.

The key point about nu-balearic is that it is essentially cool contemporary disco or electro - back in '87 at Ku Club, Ibiza, it was a blend of English indie, disco (some italo stuff too), early house and dodgy spanish pop music. Anyway, check it!

I found myself dancing to a record the other week that turned out to be by Phil Collins. Rather than fleeing the floor I carried on dancing safe in the knowledge that the tune was probably considered "Balearic" and that, therefore, it was cool.

Much has been made of 2008 being the 20th anniversary of acid house and yet its slower paced brother, Balearic beat, is the one enjoying a revival.

For the uninitiated, Balearic falls into two camps: it's either mid-tempo music with a disco bent and sunny disposition, or the kind of pop music that Alfredo, the Ibiza DJ who inspired the phrase, fitted alongside the nascent house sounds of the mid-80s.

It's hard to get the balance right on the pop side of Balearic. Phil Collins's Two Hearts sounded amazing to DJ Terry Farley when he heard it in Ibiza (though perhaps he was "out of sorts" at the time?) but less so when he was nearly bottled off for playing it in Brighton
(I AM SAM; - that was probably my Dad) when he returned home. The Collins track I heard - I'm Not Moving, an album track from Face Value - is perfect, piano-led pop that you could imagine shuffling around to and spilling your cocktail while wearing a big grin on your face. Chris Rea's Josephine also ticks all these boxes, as does Grace Jones's La Vie En Rose.

The disco-tinged side of Balearic is also making a comeback; Norway's Lindstrom and Prins Thomas are its finest purveyors and London's Mountain of One and Quiet Village are also worth a listen. Lemon Jelly's Fred Deakin obviously thinks there's enough of the stuff around to warrant a compilation and in July he's going to release a Nu Balearica compilation through Ministry of Sound.

Why now? Well, the last two years of clubbing have either been minimal (linear techno that doesn't do much and is best heard on horse tranquilisers) or maximal (nu rave and the kind of distorted dance sounds that Justice and Digitalism did so well). Clubbers perhaps want something more melodious and less lairy this summer. Justice, who created a noisy monster with Waters of Nazareth in 2005, are already ahead of the sea change. They released a DJ mix to their fans late last year that featured the Korgis' Everybody's Got to Learn Sometimes and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons' Who Loves You in the mix. Now that's what I call Balearic


I will now definitely play Phil Collins at the Bay Horse on the 28th to keep it 'proper' albeit with a threat of a bottle to the face.

NORTHERNIGHTS said...

Aficionado has been doing the Balearic thing since its inception too.

Regarding Phil Collins, avoid 'You Can't Hurry Love'.