Persona | Balearic | Essential Listening

Balearic | Essential Listening

Our Balearic Exploration Continues with DJs and Mixes That Help Define the Sunset Sound

by Joshua P. Ferguson

Much has gone into our feature series on the Balearic scene in Ibiza, but digging through all the great vintage recordings and contemporary mixes that pick up where these recordings leave off has been the most rewarding part. It's also helped us discover a few new Balearic voices along the way. This post collects our favorite listening experiences from the past few weeks and casts a wide net around what Balearic can sound like. It's a little different for everybody, but there's a universal and inescapable vibe to each one.

José Padilla Cafe Del Mar #3 — Test Pressing
For us, we have to start where it all started in our eyes: José Padilla, Café Del Mar veteran and spiritual leader of what became the chill-out sound. There a lot of recordings of his early sets, both at the club in the early '90s and prior to, when he was selling his mixes on cassette from the local market in Ibiza. This one is both characteristic of those early tapes and endlessly listenable, full of obscure soulful sounds, Spanish jazz-folk nuggets, and an obligatory cut from the Bladerunner OST.

Chris Coco Café Del Mar Before Sunset
These past few weeks we have become addicted to British DJ and chill-out spokesman Chris Coco's weekly radio show, Melodica. We've also become quite taken with an LP he's just released alongside Steel and Lovebomb appropriately titled The Chillout AlbumHe showcased it heavily on a recent show, but due to licensing issues in the U.S. we can't stream it for you here. Resorting to a close favorite mix of his, live from the original DJ booth of Café Del Mar earlier this year, it's a worthy substitute (and for those of you outside the States, well, bonus).

DJ Alfredo Live at Amensia Ibiza 1989
At the same time José Padilla was giving birth to Balearic chill-out, DJ Alfredo represented another side of the Ibizan underground—a more lively but just as eclectic mix of sounds that would eventually become known as Balearic Beat. This mix was recorded toward the end of his six-year residency at another of Ibiza's famed early underground clubs, Amnesia. Moving from early jacking sounds to hip-house to R&B, boogie, new wave, and back, it's a lively mix  in a the style that would inspire some of DJ culture's biggest names—including Pete Tong and Paul Oakenfold—and in some ways a telling precursor to the Ibiza we know today.

Pete Gooding Live at Cafe Mambo 2013 #3
Speaking of Amnesia, it's where longtime Ibizan DJ staple and British ex-pat Pete Gooding fell in love with the island and its musical heritage as a crafty teen sneaking himself into the club. Representing a middle ground between breezy grooves and Ibiza's housier side, Gooding has made a name for himself as a tireless champion of the island's scene, producing, hosting a radio show, managing artists (like José Padilla), and holding down the DJ booth at Mambo for nearly two decades. This mix is a sun kissed send off from Gooding, mixing classic downtempo sounds with soul-drenched house, mid tempo ambiance, and the out-of-left-field oddities that help keep the Balearic sound so wonderfully nebulous.


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