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Ibiza Virgins' Guide | The types of music found at Ibiza parties

The sound of the island.

Party capital of the world, Ibiza earnt its reputation by being exactly that.

From Monday through to Sunday during summer, day or night, there are numerous parties happening at any one time. The choice is unrivalled. You won't find this concentration of parties anywhere else.

With a multitude of options, it can be a little overwhelming deciding where to go, especially for new arrivals.

The secret, no matter if you're new to it all or a seasoned veteran, is to pick the parties where you're most likely to enjoy the music.

To make things easier for you, we've compiled handy guides on all the different types of music you can find here. There's a little something for everyone.

Our genre series will help you identify the parties and clubs best suited to your tastes.


House music

House is easily the most prevalent genre of music found on the island. The sun and House just go hand-in-hand. That's an understatement - they're a match made in heaven! Ever since legendary DJ Alfredo imported records from the USA to play during his sets at Amnesia in the '80s, Ibiza has taken House music to its heart.

We're sure you'll be familiar with songs by names such as MK, Duke Dumont and Meduza. Well that is House music (at least at entry level, in its most broadest terms - and that's a good place to start!) Later you can learn about Lil' Louie, Marshall Jefferson and Frankie Knuckles.

READ MORE


Techno

Techno typically shares the same 4/4 beat that House does, but the two styles do differ. Swap kick-drums for bass drums and you're partially there. Techno is darker, faster and arguably more refined than House. It's a lot about attitude and, arguably, has a bit of higher concept.

The Techno found on Ibiza is largely filtered through a Balearic lens. It's quite progressive in sound, rarely more than 134 bpm and mixed with lots of Deep and Tech House. It wouldn't be unusual to even hear the odd bit of Trance thrown into the mix. READ MORE


Tech House

Tech House is a sub-genre of House, which borrows elements from Techno.

Essentially, it's a hybrid of the two and a very popular one at that. If there was a dominant strain of House this past decade, then it would be Tech. This is as true on Ibiza, as it is in most cities around the world.

Compared to straight-up House music, uplifting components, such as piano riffs, are stripped away, leaving Tech more steely, perhaps even moody. READ MORE


Deep House

Deep House is silky smooth. It features softer pads, spacious percussion and more muted basslines, which tend to roll - there's less "drops", making it a less aggressive form of House. This distinction might lead some to see Deep House as a more organic sound. Don't get us wrong though, at the right party, with the right DJ and the right crowd, Deep House can still get the dancefloor moving. READ MORE


Afro House

Featuring native instrumentation and musical elements from African culture, Afro House adds tribal tones to Deep House. The most obvious example of this style of music is Hï Ibiza's Saturday night host Black Coffee, who has taken his brand of House music to the global stage.

Emerging in South Africa and Angola in the late '90s, now, some 25 to 30 years later, it is finally getting its dues. READ MORE


Melodic Techno

A derivation of Techno (kind of), Melodic Techno is an arpeggiated form of dance music that's very euphoric. The style emerged in the mid 2010s and has been heavily championed by Tale Of Us and their Afterlife label and party series.

Best described as a recipe as opposed to a single ingredient; a set could be described as Melodic Techno, but to label individual tracks as such is a bit disingenuous. Very often Melodic Techno is an atmospheric mix of Techno and Deep House.

Its detractors argue it's just Progressive House under a different name. READ MORE


Minimal

Minimal is less a genre, more a production technique. So you can have Minimal House or Minimal Techno. The concept involves stripping away channels to leave the bare bones. Modest musical elements are left as the essential spine, where almost all the auxiliary organs are removed.

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. READ MORE


EDM

EDM (standing for Electronic Dance Music) is an Americanism, catch-all term for anything that falls under the umbrella of dance music, whether that be big room House, Dubstep, Trance or Moombahton.

It's what might best be described as mainstream dance music or commercial dance music - the stuff you'll hear in the charts and at festival main stages. That's basically anything with a beat you can dance to, where your parents might recognise the name of some of the DJs - but they'll probably hate it! Think Calvin Harris, David Guetta, Swedish House Mafia and co. READ MORE


Garage

Garage is a genre of  dance music that thrived through pirate radio culture, embedding itself into London's sonic landscape but has since found home in suntrap holiday destinations across Europe - including Ibiza.

While Garage can have the same 4/4 sound signature found in House and other forms of dance music, it differentiates itself by often skipping a beat, hence the term "2-step". Throw in some ragga growls, soulstress vocals and dub sirens and you have unadulterated UKG. READ MORE


Reggaeton

Reggaeton is the Spanish language music genre whose Latin rhythms will take over your hips and whose infuriatingly catchy lyrics won't leave your head.

Originating in the humble neighbourhoods of Puerto Rico and Panama, this underground Latin genre emerged in the '90s from the fusion of Jamaican Reggae with American Hip-Hop and accompanied by a dembow rhythm. Even those who are not necessarily familiar Reggaeton, will surely know the associated dance move twerkin'. READ MORE


Disco

Perhaps the one that needs the least introduction. Who doesn't know, nay, love Disco?

All modern dance music can be traced back to Disco. Rising to prominence in New York and Philadelphia in the '70s, Disco is the granddaddy. The name is taken from the French word discothèque, literally meaning 'a library of phonograph records'.

Contagiously funky and danceable, aside from the music, Disco has given us timeless iconography. Its legacy is more than just music. It's fashion. READ MORE



Further explanation

Throughout the pages on our website, and just in conversation in general, you will come across references to "commercial" or "mainstream" parties and "underground" parties.

Commercial/mainstream in this instance typically refers to those parties which feature EDM or accessible House music - the type most people will recognise from television, official music charts and radio. The music is well-known and will often contain lyrics, with a chorus and verses.

Reggaeton parties are another which could fall into this category. While that style of music may still be building in Northern Europe, it's huge both here in Spain, Italy and across the Americas. Ibiza's Reggaeton parties are amongst the most expensive, but also the most heavily attended.

Children Of The 80s | Hard Rock Hotel

Then we come to the "underground" which is a bit more convoluted...

How "underground" can you truly be, if you're charging €50+ for tickets, have giant billboards with the DJ's face at multiple points across the island and pay an agency for promotional campaigns?

Well, objectively, not very! However, purely to make the distinction, when we use "underground" we're referring to parties where you will find Tech House and Techno DJs (some of whom are box office names, let's be honest).

Think along the lines of Marco Carola, The Martinez Brothers and Jamie Jones. These DJs and those of similar stature are celebrities when it comes to Ibiza. That said, unless you're into the music, most people still wouldn't know who they are or know what music they play.

In light of that, does Ibiza have a real underground then?

Well of course! We've lived long enough and travelled enough to know that everywhere has an underground - so long as you're prepared to look for it. If you really want to disconnect from the corporate end of parties, there's plenty of choice on Ibiza.

There's a thriving scene of local DJ talent here. Whisper this quietly, but although you may not have heard of them, some are even better than the famous names. You can catch them playing at a variety of places and often for free or at least very cheaply.

If you're intrigued, then we recommend Akasha, which is based at Las Dalias in the north of the island, as a good starting point.

Akasha | Las Dalias

There's also Pikes, which, granted, has a huge reputation. However, it manages to balance its profile with some incredible underground selectors really well.

For Pikes, you need to be aged 25 or over and will need to sign-up for guest list in advance via its website to guarantee admission. Woe betide you attempt to walk-up unannounced. That's the highway to a polite but firm, "no, sorry, not tonight."

We're just scratching the surface though. In order to preserve the "underground" nature, we won't go into too much discussion here. The thrill is in the hunt, so please conduct your own research. May we suggest our forum as a great source of peer-to-peer information.

Also, please don't ask us about villa parties. We can't tell you, neither here or on our social channels. Invitation is usually reserved for the very well connected and while it isn't impossible to land an invite, again, you'll have to do the leg work yourself. Good luck!

Other terminology

Another phrase that might pop-up is "retro".

This refers to parties that utilise misty-eyed nostalgia as their main selling-point. Think throw-back tunes from the '90s and early Noughties: Funky House, Trance and Balearic Beat galore. Sometimes cheesy, sometimes seriously cool.

Clockwork Orange Weekender is perhaps the biggest example of this, but there are others too.

Clockwork Orange | Es Paradis by PHRANK

These parties generally have an older crowd, who have largely grown-up, started families and stopped partying every weekend. Some of them even have grandchildren! But they still find time to relive their youth once a summer by making an annual pilgrimage to Ibiza.

Although the demographic of these parties tend to be older, they still attract young blood as well and, actually, they're a lot of fun. The old guard have still got it!


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.

HEADER IMAGE | by Pablo Dass

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