Various Artists, Balearic House

Barry Walters

By Barry Walters

on 07.26.12 in Reviews

Balearic House

Various Artists

Leaving behind the synthpop era, Balearic House focuses on the late ’80s and ’90s to explore how the sound of Ibiza changed after it initially captured the UK imagination. House music may have ultimately lost much of its early quirks, but this installment of the Balearic series still packs plenty of diversity. There are the requisite divas — Judy Cheeks, Inner City’s Paris Grey, Kym Mazelle, Soul II Soul’s Do’reen, Loose Ends’ Jane Eugene and, of course, Adeva — but there is also plenty of textural, tonal, melodic and harmonic variation that far exceeds the house norm. Norway’s Mental Overdrive goes on for 15 minutes in “About Erot,” but the ever-evolving cut builds like a mini DJ set, encompassing ambient, jazz-funk, Afrobeat, and other flavors along the way. The Land of Oz mix of Frazier Chorus’s “Nothing” captures Paul Oakenfold at the early ’90s peak of his remixing powers, and Sasha’s Quat Mix of Cheeks’ “So in Love (The Real Deal)” is similarly shaded with emotional nuance. There’s so much passion here.