Ibiza is one of the four largest Balearic islands that sit off the eastern coast of Spain. In the 80s, it was a common getaway for artists and celebrities. As the 90s saw Ibiza become a landing spot for ravers and clubbers looking for a relaxed atmosphere, a soundtrack to this laidback party sanctuary soon emerged in the form of a smooth, slowed-down fusion of soft house and trance known as Ibiza house. Ibiza has since developed into one of the world’s most notorious party destinations.
When a genre is named after a region, there’s a good chance it reflects the lifestyle of its namesake. While Ibiza house is influenced by the rhythm and continuous bass of trance, it’s arguably more influenced by its surroundings. Spanish guitars and mandolins from the local music scene are often infused with acoustic percussion, and ambient sounds of birds and ocean swells (elements also found in ambient trance) seem to be taken straight from the island itself.
Straddling the border of house and trance, Ibiza house is meditation music at its softest, rave music at its hardest, and, frequently, a combination of both at the same time. The slightly slower four-on-the-floor beat that can vary from 120 to 135 bpm puts Ibiza house in a position to simultaneously relax and uplift listeners. Aesthetically, this is achieved with dreamy synth pads, upbeat piano riffs, and often ambient flourishes that instill a sense of calm and introspection through a danceable beat.
Energy 52 – “Café Del Mar”
Café Del Mar was a bar in Ibiza that released popular club tracks. Energy 52’s “Café Del Mar” was one of the top tracks of 1993.
Robert Miles – “Children”
For every person on Ibiza in 96, this was their soundtrack. From clubs to cafes, the song was everywhere.
Chicane – “Offshore”
“Offshore” was the debut single off Chicane’s debut album Far from the Maddening Crowds. It hit #5 on the American charts and #12 in the UK, further cementing the notion that big things were happening on the little Spanish Island.
Miro – “Emotions of Paradise”
Miro’s “Emotions of Paradise” has a bit more of a trance feel with the wavering synth sound, but the addition of Spanish guitar and the rhythm makes it a classic Ibiza house tune.