Audio Remasterer: Enrico Mercaldi.
Photographer: Chris Trevena.
Ibizan chill-out culture earned a bad reputation over the years for patronizing the pretentious marijuana factions of a dance community reeling from the globalization of acid house, but the maiden installment of the Café del Mar series is one of its most touching, even if it does occasionally blow toward mawkish oversights. Featuring lesser-known names like Man Called Adam, Ver Vlads, and Obiman, as well as some typically unconnected with lush downtempo like Leftfield or Penguin Cafe Orchestra, it's filled with gentle pianos, hyperphysical beats, and a forlorn, electronic sort of spirituality. The beatless remix of the Sabres of Paradise's "Smokebelch II" is its reigning champ, encapsulating everything that can be good and honest about Ibiza, daring to drown you in timeless, reputation-baiting, Balearic bliss. ~ Dean Carlson