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Mixmag, July 1988

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Original publisher: Mixmag

Photo captions
Paul Oakenfold at Trip
Nancy Noice and regulars at the Future
Jenny and Danny Rampling at Boy George's Birthday bash
On the dancefloor at Trip




By the time the July editions of the ‘Trendy Glossies’ hit the newspaper stands, you won’t be able to escape the most ‘talked up’ addition of dance music’s ever expanding firmament – The Balearic Beat.
    You certainly won’t be able to occupy the likes of Grouchos, Freds or the ‘Greasy Spoon’ in Crip Road, Hammersmith unless you can translate the following ‘buzz’ words and sayings: Schoom, Future, Amnesia, Spectrum, Ecstasy, Jibaro, Matey, ‘Get Right On One’, Trip, Fini Tribe, ‘The Bells’, ‘Toppy Top Time’, ‘Happy Happy Happy’, ‘Why Why Why’ and ‘kaw-liga’.
    But ridiculous as it may seem, all those involved insist this isn’t just another marketing ploy hyped up by record companies and the press, it’s something that has been developing for several years.
    The emergence of this ‘Movement’ in London has coincided quite conveniently with the ever increasing popularity of ‘acid-house’, indeed house music does provide a large proportion of the soundtrack at new London clubs considered to be the pioneers of the new ‘scene’. However to think that the ‘inspiration’ comes from Chicago or New York you would be quite mistaken.
    For ‘inspiration’ and ‘roots’, our story moves to the unlikely location of the Balearic Islands, set in the Western Mediterranean. To be more precise, the island of IBIZA – for so long the epitome of ‘naffness’, the battle ground for Loadsamoney and his gang of ‘stone-washed jean’ clad English tourists!
    Despite the annual rampage of the package holiday hoards to San Antonio (the ‘Margate’ of Europe), IBIZA has managed to maintain a fascinating ‘alternative’ lifestyle against all the odds! Due to the financial structure and geography of the Island a ‘Sub-culture’ has evolved that totally disassociates itself from the ‘hooligan’ antics of the 18-30’s revellers.
    The Ku Klub is probably the one landmark who’s reputation has already spread outside of the Spanish Islands, due to the aggressive attitude of the management’s ‘live’ band policy. Suffice to say that Pesetas were not a problem in attracting the likes of Spandau, Sade, Animal Nightlife and Wham for live gigs. During the early eighties the Ku rapidly established itself as the playground for Ibiza’s new eIite, £5 for a vodka and lime, coupled with an expensive cab ride out of San Antonio soon alleviated the problems created by ‘unsavoury’ tourists.
    Pykes Hotel followed in the Ku’s footsteps, attracting Europes individuals to drop out of life at home and spend the summer lounging on Ibiza’s golden sands, joining up with other seasonal ex-patriots ie DJ’s, barmen, taxi drivers etc . . . who had decided that Balearic life was a much better alternative to their previous occupation.
    The English ‘designer’ refugee soon discovered that becoming ‘familiar faces’ had new found advantages, regular appearances at the Island’s elite clubs was soon rewarded with free drinks and admission – in return, clubs like Amnesia expected merely a touch of audience ‘arousement’. The sight of a hundred or so hard core islanders, savaging the dance floor, arms aloft, soon acts as a stimulant to the thronging masses. Amnesia was the main club during the summer of 1987 whereas in 1986 it was Pasha. Each year would produce the ‘in’ club which enabled the scene to take on new dimensions and further it’s horizons.
    The fashion (so called) that has already made its presence felt in London of baggy clothes and Hippy insignia, was really forced upon the ‘refugee’ due to heat, lack of money and lack of clothes.
    Alfredo, resident dj at Amnesia during the last few seasons, was imported to the Balearic’s by his bosses, to coincide with growth of Ibiza’s ‘alternative’ lifestyle. Alfredo had previously been based at the club that inspired its counterpart – Amnesi, based in Northern Italy – and it is he who is largely responsible for the unique musical mix that is now the thrust of the new ‘sound’ storming London clubland.
    Although it is fair to say that musical barriers between black/white, rap/soul or rock and pop have never really existed in European locations, the decision to blend ‘Acid House’ with The Woodentops was no generic accident. This style soon influenced ‘the English DJ abroad’. Trevor Fung – veteran London spinner – who’s spent more time in Ibiza than most witnessed the growth of the alternative lifestyle over a four year period and attempted to inject the Balearic spirit into the UK as far back as 1985.
    However it wasn’t really until the summer of 1987 when Paul Oakenfold, Nicky Holloway and Danny Rampling all witnessed the ‘intensity’ of Amnesia together (whilst celebrating Paul’s birthday), that the ‘sound’ was effectively exported. Oakenfold’s Project Club (name taken from an Ibiza bar) and Rampling’s Schoom Club (name taken from Ibiza ‘buzz’ word) both made a huge impact around the turn of the year ‘87/88. Holloway (another Ibiza veteran), had already been experimenting with Strobes/dry ice and The Thrashing Doves at the two Rockley Sands weekenders in ‘87.
    Oakenfold then progressed, taking the ‘imported’ begt one step further, by introducing a legal ‘Balearic’ night in the West End. As the Project Club came to an abrupt end, due to a police visit, ‘Future’ was born, and proceeded to spread the word round the UK Capital. Ramplings Schoom followed Future into the West End and by using a PR company, the London circuit soon discovered the atmosphere and energy of the new scene.
    Spectrum was Oakenfolds next venture, opening at London’s previously renowned gay venue Heaven. DJ’s Nancy Noise, Johnny Walker, Colin Hudd and Oakenfold himself provided the music and within one month, Monday nights at Heaven were attracting between 7-900 hardened balearic disciples.
    The impact these new nights have made is astounding, drawing the attention of London’s most seasoned club runners. Spectrum and Schoom have rapidly established themselves as a London ‘Who’s Who’ playground. Westworld (– brain child of Graham Ball and one of London’s biggest events over the last two years) even invited Rampling to run his own room – ‘ a gig within a gig’ – at their recent Brixton Academy bash! Decked out with carpets, Eastern furniture and belly dancers. But as the trend escalates, and many clubs advertise the fact that they have a Balearic music policy, beware! Just because it says Balearic, it doesn’t mean it is!
    Musically, the switched on DJ has already tracked down the likes of ‘Why Why Why’ The Woodentops, and tracks by The Fini Tribe, The Residents, Enzio Avitable, and The ‘Jibaro’ theme to blend with the latest ‘ACID’ releases. Not content with that, and taking a lead from the likes of S-Xpress, Marrs, Bomb The Bass and Simon Harris, FFRR/London will be releasing the first two UK Balearic recordings by the DJ’s themselves, plus a balearic beat compilation album.
    ‘Sure Beats Workin” is the brainchild of Nicky Holloway, this dynamic blend of Balearic melodies and acidic harmonica forms the first assault – the 3 piece London act known simply as ‘Beats Workin’ have all ‘sampled’ the Ibizan experience and returned to the Mediterranean at the end of May to start this years campaign.
    ‘Jibaro’ is the second release courtesy of Electra (although better known as Paul Oakenfold), a tried and tested Balearic beat in its original form, Paul’s new adaption restructures the theme for perfect dance floor compatibility. Paul also returned to the island in June for yet another excursion with the Project crowd.
    Balearic Beats Vol 1 has been compiled to give you a small taste of the real balearic beat, which if it had to be defined would probably fall into a fused category of UK indie rock and the house beats of Chicago.
Test the Ibizan experience!


Photography by David Swindells


1. ELECTRA – Jibaro (FFRR)
2. WOODENTOPS – Why Why Why (Rough Trade)
3. CYNDI LAUPER – Whats Going On (Epic)
4. YELLO – The Race (Mercury)
5. MORY KANTE – Ye Ke Ye Ke (London)
6. PROJECT CLUB – Dance With The Devil (Supreme)
7. THRASHING DOVES – Jesus On The Payroll (A&M)
8. BEATS WORKING – Sure Beats Working (FFRR)
9. MANDY SMITH – I Just Can’t Wait (PWL)
10. NITZER EBB – Join In The Chant (Mute)