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Senior Year

Senior Year, 2005: Summer in Ibiza

by Philip Sherburne

Senior Year, 2005: Summer in Ibiza

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The Germans fell in love with Ibiza in 2005, and nothing has been quite the same since.

That was the summer that the White Isle's club scene, long defined by British tastes in trance and progressive house, fell under the sway of bleepy minimal techno and the streamlined, riff-centric sound then known as electro-house.

If you were to sum up the shift in one track, it would have been M.A.N.D.Y. vs. Booka Shade's "Body Language," which by fall had been crowned Track of the Season in the island's DJ Awards. Released on the Berlin musicians' then-fledgling Get Physical label, it had just enough bright, breezy melody to capture a Balearic crowd's attention, but beneath its hands-in-the-air momentum wriggled the trim, twitchy rhythms of Continental techno.

Nearly as ubiquitous was the Berlin duo Âme's "Rej," which offered an even more weightless mix of trance atmospheres, Latin shimmy and pumping dub techno. Tomas Andersson's "Washing Up," released on Ellen Allien's Bpitch Control, took things in a tougher direction, with chunkier drums and gritty, detuned synths, while Alter Ego's "Rocker" and Roman Fluegel's "Geht's Noch?" pushed minimalist techno into the red with squealing leads and a winking nod to rock 'n' roll swagger. (It's worth noting that the present day's brand of "dirty Dutch" house wouldn't exist without the model set by "Geht's Noch?")

It wasn't just Germans, of course; Mathew Jonson, Audion, Trentemoller and John Tejada all had massive, enduring hits that summer, but the island's sonic shift was clearly occasioned by Teutonic club-music trends. (In any case, German labels were behind a disproportionate amount of the music.) The sounds unleashed that summer set the tone for a wide swath of dance music across the next few years, with vacationing partygoers returning home and seeding new strains of techno and house in their own local scenes.

For this installment of our Senior Year series -- featuring the aforementioned artists, along with tracks from Luciano, Ricardo Villalobos, Carl Craig and more -- we salute the members of the class of 2005 who headed to Ibiza that summer. They came, they saw, they raved. And once they got home, nothing was the same.