While Balearic house – the strain that propagated through the Mediterranean with the sunrise sound of Ibiza – has been documented in its heyday and continues to be widely marketed, there remains a lot of Spanish dance music history on the margins. Ritmo Fantasía: Balearic Spanish Synth-Pop, Boogie and House (1982-1992) provides a portal into the deepest nooks of the Spanish underground, serving up an essential collection of deep and leftfield cuts that’s a must have for crate diggers.
What makes Ritmo Fantasía so valuable is that it documents a scene that’s been largely neglected, mostly stemming from lack of information about and access to recordings from this time. The compilation itself is a result of more than a decade’s worth of record collecting by Venezulan DJ Andres Astorga, aka Trujillo, who journeyed to flea markets and record stores around Spain to bring these gems to the light. Most of the 21 tracks are taken from singles and albums which never made it out of Spain and many have never even resurfaced at all outside of exceedingly limited, self-released private pressings.
Unpacking the layers of Ritmo Fantasía reveals an array of parties, clubs and scenes that existed around Spain during the 1980s and early 90s in insular pockets around the country, from Madrid to smaller coastal towns such as Marbella, Gijón, and Cádiz. Spanning early bleep and hip house, boogie, Iberian pop, synth-pop, and more, it’s an unorthodox portrayal that draws attention to lesser-known artists and captures the essence of what made this period in Spanish dance music history unique.
Trujillo has done an amazing job presenting a collection that is put together with the utmost attention to detail, putting this release in the upper echelons of obscure curations. Ritmo Fantasía is the definitive collection of the rarefied Spanish dance underground, the compilation that dance music obsessives have been waiting for, even if they didn’t know it.