- Pikes Ibiza, a nightclub and hotel that's seen plenty of rock star-style indulgence since opening in the late '70s, is the stuff of legend. It's unlikely, though, that the spot still bears witness to the debauchery of its glory days, when the likes of Spandau Ballet, Grace Jones and Bianca Jagger prowled the grounds in search of kicks. Its founder and spiritual leader, Tony Pike, who still lives at the hotel, is now 83—and Pikes was just the subject of an article in The Times titled "Ibiza and the middle-aged ravers," in which the current proprietor Andy McKay admits that he's catering to those with "a little less stamina for dancing until 6 AM."
One of the subjects of that feature, DJ Harvey, has recently been appointed Pikes' "cultural attaché." His full duties aren't entirely clear, but among them is overseeing the launch of Pikes Records. It's not surprising, then, that the label is making its debut with the Harvey-curated The Sound Of Mercury Rising, a compilation that takes its name and ethos from his Mercury Rising DJ residency at Pikes in a room named after Freddie Mercury. (The late Queen frontman celebrated his 41st birthday at the hotel, according to The Times, with "350 bottles of Moët & Chandon champagne and a cake in the shape of Barcelona's La Sagrada Família church.")
The selections, for the most part, are typical examples of the Balearic style. The vibe is as predictable as it is pleasurable. Acoustic six-string guitars strum. Choruses brim with oohs and aah. And sun-dappled melodies welcome all comers. The rhythms move blissfully—sometimes with an Iberian lilt, sometimes with a jaunty disco-tinged bounce. Others have a serenely lysergic chug.
DJ Pippi contributes "Ibiza World Inspiration," a song that embodies the compilation's overall sound. A beatbox taps out a syncopated tick-tock underneath a placid, percolating synth and minor-key guitar picks. Spectral vocal snippets meander and string stabs build a bit of tension. It sounds simple (and it is), but it has a subtly hedonistic charge that's hard to resist. Idjut Boy's "One For Kenny," the duo's 2012 tribute to the late Kenny Hawkes, is another standout, its rubber dub groove graced by a quietly joyous piano.
Not all of The Sound Of Mercury Rising works with the same degree of subtlety. "She's A Lady," from Tore, is a flamboyant disco throwback that stays just on the right side of syrupy thanks to a hazy electric piano that anchors the tune. Roberto Rodriguez's breezy "Danza Dell'Acqua," with its vocal syncopation, good-time horns and near-comedic percussion, has a novelty hit feel, but it's a good fit for the compilation's dreamland aura.
It's easy to give into that aura, and the best track here is the dreamiest of them all. Lovefingers' remix of The Project Club's "EL Mar Y La Luna" swoons and sighs and shuffles, a soundtrack to a sky-blue reverie. As with much of The Sound of Mercury Rising, it feels unbound by era—it could have been made in the '70s, or yesterday. (It's from 2011.) Also like the rest of the compilation, it's exactly the kind of music you'd find at an intimate gathering on a Spanish island with Harvey at the helm.
01. Locussolus - Next To You (Marcy Rising Edit)
02. Elkin & Nelson - Abran Paso-Ahoa (Enrolle)
03. Eighth Wonder - I'm Not Scared (Disco Mix)
04. Idjut Boys - One For Kenny
05. Roberto Rodriguez - Mustat Varjot
06. Van McCoy & The Soul City Symphony - Spanish Boogie
07. The Project Club - El Mar Y La Luna (Lovefingers Remix)
08. DJ Pippi feat. Antonio M Jemenez - Ibiza World Inspiration
09. Tony Espocito - Danza Dell'Acqua
10. No ID - Love Mecanica (Not Love Game)
11. Tore - She's A Lady
12. Gatto Fritto - Invisible College