Various Artists

Cream Collect: Balearic

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Rivalling the attempts of fellow superclub Ministry of Sound to properly anthologize a style of music, Cream Collect: Balearic is a surprising three-disc collection with an epic grasp of material to compete with the dance archaeologists over at Strut. The Balearic sound, first spun in the early- to mid-'80s by Ibizan DJs like Alfredo, grabbed all sorts of mid-tempo dance tracks from all sorts of scenes. It also ended up influencing basically the entire British dance scene after a legendary 1987 trip down by Paul Oakenfold, Danny Rampling, Nicky Holloway, Trevor Fung, and Johnny Walker. Though no one's ever attempted a proper summation of the Ibiza/Balearic style, Cream nails it properly on this first try. Sprinkled among the raft of latter-day dance producers (Leftfield, Sabres of Paradise, Thievery Corporation, A Man Called Adam, Saint Etienne, Underworld, Lamb) who were influenced by the Balearic sound are tracks from the mixes that so impressed Oakenfold, Rampling, and company back in the mid-'80s: "La Vie en Rose" by Grace Jones, "Lullaby" by the Cure, "Cherry-Coloured Funk" by Cocteau Twins, "Music for a Found Harmonium" by Penguin Cafe Orchestra, "Moments in Love" by Art of Noise, and a few songs from even more surprising sources (Carly Simon, Simply Red, Chris Rea, etc.). Yes, it's a completely different style of mixing than that heard on 99.9 percent of the other dance compilations out there, and all the more valuable for it.

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