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Ibiza Virgins' Guide to... Minimal music

The sound of the island.

Ibiza is known for its dance music the world over, but that is an umbrella term for various different styles. Our series on the genres found here will help you identify the parties and clubs best suited to your tastes.

Burrowing deep into the underground, our spotlight next moves on to Minimal music.


What defines the Minimal sound?

Making Minimal music is an art form. Well, at least to make interesting Minimal is.

The concept involves stripping away channels to leave the bare bones. Modest musical elements, such as simple arrangements, sparse beats, repetitive pulses, consonant harmony and single loops are the essential spine, where almost all the auxiliary organs are removed.

Stating the obvious, but with less to work with, Minimal tracks need a certain 'something' to hook the listener in. Tracks need to maximise the potential of its limited components.

Though we talk of the simplistic nature of this type of music, it's harder to produce than it might initially seem. With so few elements involved, there's nowhere to hide and the line between subtle and dull is very fine indeed. Less is more (but only if you can master it!).


Perhaps it would be simpler to present a playlist of tracks to determine what can be considered Minimal

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Ibiza parties where Minimal is played:

ENCORE at Octan | Sundays
Do Not Sleep at Amnesia | early season Fridays
Music On at Pacha | Fridays
Eastenderz at Cova Santa | selected dates
Circoloco and Solid Grooves at DC10 | Mondays and Thursdays

Selected Sundays at Amnesia's Pyramid also boast Minimal DJs. Keep an eye out for Ricardo Villalobos' dates on The Terrace.

While it doesn't have a regular programme, and far less likes to publicise it, Underground Ibiza is the home for this kind of music on the island. The small intimate club is found on the San Rafael roundabout, a short distance from Amnesia in the middle of the island.


Robert Hood by Marie Staggat

Minimal's origins

Like with many forms of music, especially dance music, Minimal has been somewhat culturally appropriated.

Taking it back to its roots, we begin with Detroit Techno originator Robert Hood (one half of father-daughter duo, Floorplan). Hood's 1994 masterpiece Minimal Nation is widely regarded as the first Minimal long-player. An important foundation of Minimal Techno, the record is a great place to start when examining how Minimal production styles work.

Created using a simple set-up of synths and drum machines, Minimal Nation showcased the producer stripping back Techno's traits to just its core audio components.

Though we don't tend to associate Robert Hood too heavily the genre today, he definitely paved the way for what it has become.


Modern Minimal

Introducing you to some of the names of DJs synonymous with the style, you may already be familiar with old guards like Ricardo Villalobos, Apollonia, Zip and Craig Richards.

[a:rpia:r] Soundsystem, Nicolas Lutz, Margaret Dygas, GutiFrancesco Del Garda, and Sonja Moonear are names that might be unknown to you now. After you've dipped your toes in, you're likely to see their names crop up more often.

2022 sees the electronic music scene inundated with labels, producers and DJs delving into Minimal and each making their own interpretation.

One example of this is prominent London-based label and party series FUSE, spearheaded by Enzo Sirugusa. Selling-out pop-up parties, as well as having a substantial back-catalogue of music, FUSE oversaw Minimal's rise in popularity in the UK.

In the modern day, it's fair to say that Minimal is one of the sounds carrying the underground party scene. DJs and producers to keep an eye in include Archie Hamilton, East End Dubs, Chris Stussy, Casey Spillman and Rossi.


Setting the record straight

Having read all that and at the risk of confusing you, here's the bombshell: "Minimal" in-and-of itself is not a genre. Rather it's a production technique. Therefore you can have Minimal House, Minimal Techno and even Minimal Garage.

Here's an overview of the different types you might encounter.

Although the tweaks between them can be subtle, you might be able to distinguish the differences between each one - even you novices!

Minimal House (Deep-Tech)

Commonly referred to as "Deep-Tech" nowadays, this is a reduced version of House music that is essentially Tech House stripped right down to the bare essentials. Deep-Tech makes groove the primary focus, with bass and melody taking a back-seat.

It's dubby to such an extent, it almost sounds underwater.

Minimal Techno

Although it has waned in popularity recently thanks to a desire for faster, more pumping Techno, for a while Minimal was big. Championed by Richie Hawtin and his reference point label M-NUS, it is linear in composition, rolling in nature and almost completely absent of "drops".

It has a plinky-plonk sound and features unusual, sometimes disorientating noises.

Ro-Minimal

Romanian DJs and producers have played a big part in the uptake of Minimal music. With annual festivals like Sunwaves attracting crowds from all over the globe, it has a big domestic scene and widening global influence. Names such as Praslea, Cristi Cons, Barac and Mihai Popoviciu are just a few of the DJs pushing this sound - hence the tag "Ro-Minimal".

Much like Deep-Tech, Ro-Minimal is all about the groove.


Find here all our music guides:

Ibiza Virgins' Guide to... House music
- Tech House
- Deep House
Ibiza Virgins' Guide to... Techno
Ibiza Virgins' Guide to... EDM
Ibiza Virgins' Guide to... Reggaeton
Ibiza Virgins' Guide to... Garage


Read more...

This article is part of our Ibiza Virgins' Guides, packed full of information on how to get the most out of your stay on Ibiza. Check them out.

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